Monday, September 16, 2013

Putting the Puzzle Together!

I know this "team building" activity is an oldie but goodie, but if you are like me, you forget about some of the best ideas unless they are brought up fresh each year!

Every year my class and I work to create a giant class puzzle.  Each child is given a puzzle piece one of those first few days of school and their directions are simple--design the puzzle piece to represent YOU!

We brainstorm ideas about what might be on it . . .

--favorite things
--favorite activities

and more!

Before the students are allowed to CREATE, however, we have a class discussion about work quality.  We talk about using pencil first because it's easy to change.  We talk about work being the 5 "B's"!


(note: This becomes an anchor chart in our room that we refer to all year!)

Believe it or not, we review how to color neatly, how to make bubble letters--and all those "tricks" that will help them be more successful in all their other projects this year.

After their masterpieces are finished--it's time to put it all together!  Students are instructed to try to find a match and then come to me for "taping".  After they are a pair, they walk around together to find more pieces to join their section and so on!  We talk about the "ok" and "not ok" ways to do this and give the students sample phrases to use ("Hey!  I think yours might fit with their piece!" is sure nicer than "You don't fit!").  As more pieces join together, I keep the puzzle on the floor upside down for taping so they don't see the whole effect until we raise it up at the end!

When we finish--and before the unveiling-we have a talk about what we learned during the creation of their pieces and the assembly of the puzzle.  It's fun to see what the students come up with . . . they are often more insightful than I am!

So are YOU ready for the unveiling?  Here we go!

Isn't it great?  The puzzle hangs outside our classroom above our lockers until conferences are over, and the students LOVE to show their families!

Thanks for stopping by and hope your school year is going beautifully!


  1. What a great idea! I was thinking about doing some type of mathematical art kind of like this later i the year! Thanks for the inspiration!

    Mathematically yours,
    Jamie aka MissMathDork!

  2. Beautiful - I saw something like this done with real puzzle pieces and it was gorgeous but the size of the pieces put me off. I love this idea with the big puzzle pieces!! I think it would make a great Earth Day art activity as well - going to bookmark this post :)


  3. I love it! Could you share a little more about how you made it?

    1. Sure! I took a large piece of white butcher paper and cut it to the size I wanted the finished product to be. I then lightly drew out puzzle pieces so that there would be one per student--plus one extra (for that extra student who arrives right when you start this project!). I decorate the extra if it isn't needed. I then write each child's name on a piece so they know which way is "up", cut them apart, and distribute them for the activity. Does that help? :)


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