Books, Critical Thinking, K-5, Language Arts

Gifts for the Gifted – Guess The Three-Letter Words

Several years ago, I thought I would help out the parents of my gifted and talented students by writing about some games, toys, or books that I thought might make good purchases during the holiday season.  I called the series of posts, “Gifts for the Gifted,” and I have continued to do it annually (except for 2019) every November and December.  These gifts are suggestions for any child – not just those who qualify for a GT program. Sometimes I receive a free product for review, but I am not paid for these posts, and I never recommend a product that I wouldn’t buy for my own child.  For past “Gifts for the Gifted” posts, including my 2021 list, you can visit this page. I also have a Pinterest Board of Games and Toys for Gifted Students. 

The stats from my blog show me that word games are still pretty popular as people are still regularly visiting my post on different versions of Wordle and my article about the word ladder game, Fourword. With that in mind, I thought I would test out a book called, Guess the Three-Letter Words, Logic Puzzles for Kids, for this week’s gift recommendation.

In recent years, I’ve tried to link to author sites or independent bookstores when I give book recommendations. However, this book seems to be only available on Amazon and does not appear to have an author (listed only as “Learn & Fun.”) When you click on the link for “Learn & Fun,” you’ll be directed to this page, where other puzzle books are listed. I’m guessing “Learn & Fun” books are self-published, but I suppose that doesn’t really matter if they have the content you’re looking for.

In this particular book, there are 100 puzzles, divided into “Easy” and “Hard.” Each puzzle resembles a Wordle, except that these are all 3-letter words and two out of three responses are shown. Using the information you get from those two responses, the solver should be able to figure out the final, correct answer. There is an alphabet grid next to each puzzle, so the solvers can use the process of elimination to help them out. There is also a legend, similar to the one in Wordle, to show which letters are completely wrong, which ones are in the right place, and which ones are correct but in the wrong place.

This book would be good for younger students who are beginning readers/spellers. It’s probably not very challenging for anyone over 8 or 9 years old. However, some of the puzzles do have more than one correct answer. Usually, some of those options are not traditional primary school vocabulary, so as a teacher I would definitely ask students to come up with all of the options to see if some of my high achievers can uncover the more rare possibilities. And, of course, they could then attempt to make some of their own puzzles — possibly with more letters.

This would make a nice stocking stuffer if you know a young wordsmith, or you might want to check out the other books by this company to give a child a bundle they can work on while traveling or when you want them to put away their screens.

Critical Thinking, Games, K-12, Language Arts


Yesterday, I landed on the goldmine of Wordle blog posts. I thought I had collected most of the Wordle variations, and then I read this post by Jacob Cohen. After adding most of the links in his post, I ended up with 54 Wordle-type games in my Wakelet collection (I think I had something like 36 before). There are sudoku and crossword versions, a Morse code version, and several that I think will make my brain explode if I try them. Since my blog audience is mostly teachers, I was conscious as I added each link of whether or not it might be good for the classroom. Most of them definitely appeal to very niche audiences, but when I saw Spellie I realized I needed to spread the word.

Spellie is designed for children, or perhaps people trying to learn the English language. It has three modes: easy, medium, hard. According to the rule page, “The easy puzzle uses short words within the Grade 2 vocabulary. The hard mode is challenging, but uses words within the Grade 5 vocabulary.” Easy mode has 4 letter words, while the other two have 5.

I will admit right now that I was completely humiliated by the easy mode. And, trust me, it was not a difficult word.

Terri is no good at Spellie

In my defense, I had gotten sidetracked by another game Cohen suggested (that I’ll be blogging about tomorrow), and my brain seemed to have difficulty changing modes.

Back to Spellie, you can collect little emojis as you guess words, which is a fun bonus.

As a reminder, for those of you wanting to bring Wordle into the classroom, don’t forget there is a Flippity version where you can customize your list with your own words. You can also customize Spello with your own lists, and it will read a word out loud, so students can try to guess the correct spelling.

You can find all of these and more on my Wordle Variations Wakelet. Want to get updates and see my other public collections? Visit this page.

assorted color sequins
K-12, Teaching Tools, Websites

March Holidays

With March approaching so, so quickly, I decided to spend some time making my March Wakelet today. It has resources for all kinds of upcoming celebrations, like Mardi Gras/Carnival (March 1, 2022), National Reading Day (March 2, 2022), and more! Pi Day and St. Patrick’s Day already had their own Wakelets, but I linked them in the March collection as well. While I was at it, I was able to add even more (can you believe it?!!!) to the Wordle Variations group when @LeslieFisher shared Star Wars Wordle on Twitter today and some people replying to her linked Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings versions. In the meantime, I’ve been working on polishing up my next online course, Genius Hour: The Quest Begins, which I plan on dropping on March 1st, and refining my upcoming presentation for NEISD Elementary Librarians this Friday on the Visible Thinking Routine, “Main–Side–Hidden.”

So, despite the very strong temptation to snuggle with my canine weighted blanket, Gemma the Giant Great Dane, on this gloomy Wednesday, I feel like I’ve been somewhat productive. Hopefully, some of you will find something that benefits you in what I’ve done!

hello march printed paper on white surface
Photo by Bich Tran on
Apps, Education, Games, K-12, Teaching Tools, Websites

Wordle Jigsaw Puzzles

from: Daily Learning to the Core
from: Daily Learning to the Core

When I saw this idea on “Learning to the Core“, I thought it would make a great activity for the end of the school year.  Basically, your students create a Wordle, and then it is made into an online jigsaw puzzle for them to solve.  Depending on the ability of your students, the Wordles could: describe their school year, summarize a particular unit, give clues about a student in the class, use Word Wall words, be a famous quote, etc…

Once the Wordles are created, a screenshot can be taken and saved or e-mailed to the teacher, who can load them into a class account on Jigsaw Planet for all students to solve.

My wheels are already turning on how I might use this during the summer to keep my gifted students thinking.

Some other sites or apps you could use to create the images for the jigsaws might be:  Tagxedo, WordFoto(iOS), You Are Your Words, Tagul, ABCya Word Clouds.

Education, K-12, Student Products, Teaching Tools

108 Ways to Use Word Clouds in the Classroom

photo credit:

“108 Ways to Use Word Clouds in the Classroom” is a fabulous post from 21st Century Educational Technology and Learning.  Word cloud generators, such as Wordle or Tagxedo, have become quite popular amongst teachers.  However, they are often used for the same few activities.  This post, from Michael Gorman, gives so many more options, and breaks them down by subject.  For example, under Social Studies, he gives the suggestion, “Show different climates of different cities showing the scale of city size using average temperature, or rainfall, or snowfall, or your idea.”  What a great way to differentiate for those higher level students in your class!  Be sure to visit Michael Gorman’s post for even more phenomenal ideas.

Art, Independent Study, K-12, Language Arts, Math, Research, Student Products, Teaching Tools, Vocabulary, Websites

Guess the Wordle

What a Great Idea!Whether you use the Wordle riddles that “Jen” has created, or set off to make some of your own, this is a great concept that integrates technology with practically any topic you are learning.  You could use your Wordles to introduce a topic or to review something that has already been taught.  You could have students create their own Wordles that others need to guess.  One of the cool, and quite simple, features on this site is the way that she embedded the Wordles in her blog so that when you roll over them the answer appears.  This can be done when you add the alternate text to a picture you are inserting in your blog or website.  Of course, Wordle is not the only site that creates word clouds.  Tagxedo is another fun way to make these, and allows you to format them to different shapes.