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Monday, November 27, 2017

Teaching With Crossword Puzzles from Read Write Think

My grandmother taught Language Arts for decades and she loved crossword puzzles. I know that many other teachers still like to use them in one way or another too. If you would like to create your own crossword puzzles for your students or you want them to create crossword puzzles, take a look at Read Write Think's Crossword Puzzle Tool.

Read Write Think's Crossword Puzzle Generator makes it easy to create your own crossword puzzles. To create your puzzle simply enter a list of words, a set of clues for your words, and then let the generator make a puzzle for you. You can test the puzzle before printing it. You can print blank puzzles and answer sheets from the puzzle generator.

Applications for Education
Read Write Think offers a bunch of free lesson plans that incorporate crossword puzzles. Some of the lesson plans are designed for learning synonyms. Other lesson plans teach students the vocabulary space travel.

Three Puzzle Templates That Help Students See Content Connections

Russel Tarr publishes a lot of great educational games and instructional templates on ClassTools.net. Among those templates are three activities designed to help students see the connections between events, people, places, and ideas within a subject.

The Class Tools Hexagons Generator lets you create an online hexagonal learning activity to share with your students. To use the template just enter a topic then a minimum of five terms related to that topic. For example, I entered the topic of "American Revolution" then entered the terms "Stamp Act," "Sugar Act," "Boston Tea Party," "Intolerable Acts," and "Olive Branch Petition." The generator then created five hexagons that my students can arrange online to show the connections between the topics. Students can also edit the hexagons to add explanations to the connections.


The Diamond 9 template has students write text into nine boxes that form a diamond shape. Students have to sort the boxes into order of importance and connection to ideas in other boxes. A space is provided for students to write a justification for placement of each box.

The Jigsaw template has students write keywords or phrases into jigsaw pieces. Students then arrange the pieces to show the connections between the keywords in the those pieces. Students can color code each piece in their puzzles.

Create Great Video Lessons on iSL Collective

iSL Collective offers a huge gallery of video-based lessons designed to help students learn English. It also offers a fantastic tool for teachers to use to create their own video-based lessons.

iSL Collective's video lesson creator lets you build questions into videos found on YouTube and on Vimeo. The lesson creator allows you to add multiple choice, short answer, fill-in-the-blank, matching, and sorting questions to a video. If you find a video that is a little longer than you need, iSL Collective's lesson creator will let you trim the video.

iSL Collective doesn't just let you build questions into your video-based lesson. It provides a full lesson planning tool that can include vocabulary lists for students, discussion questions, and an outline of objectives for your lesson.

Applications for Education
iSL Collective was designed to help students learn English, but the video lesson creator could be used to make lessons for any subject area. As you can see in my screenshot above, I made a short lesson about the Battle of Gettysburg.

GradeProof Helps Students Improve Their Papers

GradeProof is a service designed to help students improve their writing. GradeProof lets students either import documents or write documents within the GradeProof editor. Either way that the students use, the next step is the same. GradeProof identifies spelling, grammar, and phrasing errors within a student's writing. GradeProof highlights and color codes the errors that it identifies for students. Students can then click on each highlighted error to see a suggested change. Students can click on each suggested change to immediately implement the change.


GradeProof lets students import documents from Google Docs and Dropbox. Students can also upload Word files. A third option is to just write a document from scratch in the GradeProof editor.

GradeProof operates on a freemium model. With a free account students can use GradeProof to identify spelling, grammar, and phrasing mistakes. A paid account will evaluate those things as well as suggest changes to improve the eloquence of statements. Paid accounts also identify phrases that might have been plagiarized intentionally or unintentionally.

Applications for Education
GradeProof could be a good service for students to use before submitting their papers to you for a grade or to their peers for review. Unlike traditional spelling and grammar checkers, GradeProof will identify typos like writing the same word twice in a row.