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January 28, 2014

Tried It: Word Searches and Research Time

It's the end of the unit this week - so we are reviewing our spelling patterns, getting ready for our big spelling assessment.  I wanted to share a little something that I tried yesterday. Yesterday I had my students pull out their unit spelling list, and they created word searches with as many words as they could fit.  It looked something like below (this was my example on the board).  

Have you had your students make word searches?  It was super easy.  My class each started with a piece of binder paper, then used a ruler to make vertical lines.  They left the bottom 5 lines of the paper blank so they had room to make their word list.  Then they went through their spelling sheet and used as many challenging words as possible from all the 6 word lists.  Horizontal, Diagonal, Vertical... I had to remind them to write the words at the bottom of their paper.  Then they just filled in the extra squares with random letters, and switched with a partner to solve their word search using a highlighter.  They LOVED this activity, and I loved how they were reviewing those tricky words.

In other news... I have a plastic drawer in my classroom filled with word search books, courtesy of my dad when he was cleaning out my grandma's house.  My grandma was a collector of word searches... well, she was a collector of everything...  When the kids are completely done with an activity, I sometimes give them the option of tearing out a page to work on.

I also wanted to tell you that my students love researching, and with so many stories lately about winter, snow, and arctic animals, I wanted to take their interest and get them motivated to dive deeper!  Enter something that I created that I'm so excited about.  You know how I love making my students work, well - here's another research opportunity for them.

Included are 11 animals that students can choose from to research.  Usually I make them do the entire booklet when it's time to research, but this time around I'm planning on printing these off and adding them to my ELA workshop afternoon rotation.  Students can use the computers and books from the library to research the information.  I already know they want to learn about these animals (I see them reading animal information books and Zoobook Magazines during silent reading time), now I want to take that interest and give them something that I know they will eat up.  

Then they can write about them.  :)  LOVE IT!  Another fun activity that will get them thinking and working on those important research skills that they will need for their futures.

This new pack is over at TPT and I have put it on sale through January 29th for only $2.  

Hope this helps someone!  



  1. I have my students make their own wordsearches online at They print them out and exchange them with a buddy. Love the research booklet!

  2. Word searches are so much fun! Thanks for reminding me that I could have students make their own. They always love to try to stump me or their friends when looking for the words. Great way to review those tricky words too! :)
    Mrs. Bentin's Blackboard

  3. My literacy partner does word searches as an option on her word work homework menu. I didn't know about using puzzle maker! I'll have to share that with her!


  4. I've have some word searches on my class website and the kids LOVE them! I haven't tried having them make their own. Great idea!
    Rockin' and Lovin' Learnin'

  5. I have never thought of having my students create their own word searches. They would love that! Thanks for sharing and your Arctic animals research project looks amazing!
    Fourth Grade Flipper

  6. I love having my students make word searches to sway with each other. It took them awhile to get the hang of putting in diagonal words - and not actually writing them with a slant : )
    Your research project looks great!


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