Puzzle Author
Nancy Kolodziej
Cookeville, Tennessee

Related Lesson
Viking Voyagers: Navigating Online Content Area Reading

Playing Puzzles: A Guide for Teachers

Crossword puzzles can be used in the classroom to support, extend, and enrich your literacy-based instructional goals. They help students develop word analysis and critical thinking skills and improve vocabulary and comprehension.

The Vikings Crossword Puzzle is intended for grades 6–8. It is available online at http://www.readwritethink.org/materials/crossword/ under the Play One of Ours tab.

How to Play Puzzles
To play a puzzle, have students enter their names and then select the Play One of Ours tab. Students can choose a puzzle from the drop-down list, click Play, and start entering their words directly into the puzzle. Or, if you prefer, you can print the puzzle and give it to students to fill out.

Note: Students cannot save their work online; make sure they print their puzzles before exiting the tool.

Suggestions for Classroom Use
For more information about using the Crossword Puzzles tool including lesson plans that incorporate it, see the Crossword Puzzles Tool Card. You might also want to visit Tips for Using Crossword Puzzles With Children and Tips for Using Crossword Puzzles With Teens. These printer-ready handouts are designed for parent and tutor use and can be sent home with your students. And if you want to help your students make their own puzzles, see Creating Puzzles: A Guide for Teachers.

Troubleshooting Tips
The Crossword Puzzles tool uses Flash Player 8. You can download the latest version for free here.

  • To enter a word, click on a box anywhere in the word.
  • Click the Check Puzzle button on the top left to indicate which letters are correct and which are not. Boxes for letters that are correct will be shaded green; boxes for incorrect and blank letters will be shaded red.
  • Change the scale of the puzzle by clicking on the + and – buttons on the screen.
  • You can grab the puzzle and move it around on the screen. The Center button moves the puzzle back to the middle.
  • The Tips & Hints button on the bottom left of the puzzle links to a page that has information to help solve the puzzle.
  • You can turn the sound off and on using the sound icon.
  • You can print the puzzle by clicking Print. Options include printing the puzzle with any filled-in answers, printing a blank puzzle, and printing an answer key.
  • You cannot save your puzzle online. Make sure you click the Print button and print before exiting.

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