More preparations for the start of school: This is a little game to help the kids review their parts of speech. I started with some precut jigsaw puzzles and some markers, colored pencils, and an extra-fine-point Sharpie.
On the flat side of each puzzle, I used markers and colored pencils to write the name of a particular part of speech ("adverbs" or whatever). On the glossy side, I used the Sharpie to write an example of that part of speech on each individual puzzle piece.
Here we have prepositions, pronouns, and interjections. (Walter the kitten is not part of the lesson plan; he just doesn't trust me to do anything right without feline supervision.)
I found a set of cheap nesting boxes at the craft store a couple of months ago and bought them with a sense of blind faith that they would be useful for something. The biggest one accommodated my puzzle collection quite nicely. I labeled it so I wouldn't forget what was in it:
And your free grammar lesson for today: Remember when your fifth-grade teacher told you a preposition is "anywhere a cat can go"? Walter helpfully demonstrated that by jumping ONTO the coffee table, climbing INTO the box, walking IN FRONT OF the camera, wandering ACROSS the table, and stepping ON all the puzzles while I was trying to take the picture:
When the kids come in, all the pieces will be mixed up together in the box. I'll hand each student a few pieces, and then they'll have to work together to sort the pieces and solve the puzzles. (The colorful labels on the back are so they can match up the pieces and work the puzzles once they've sorted them.) The idea is just to get the kids up and moving around the classroom and thinking a little bit.
If any other teachers are interested, you can get the puzzles for 50 cents apiece at Hobby Lobby and Mardel. They have bigger ones with more pieces, too. I could see this same basic project being useful in a lot of different disciplines -- maybe verb conjugation in foreign language classes, geographic locations or names of historically significant figures in a social studies class, elements and their symbols in a chemistry class, algebra problems and solutions in a math class, etc.
I didn't get too fancy with the image on the back, because I didn't want to invest a lot of time in something with a lot of small pieces that are easily stolen or damaged, but if it goes over well and the kids don't mess it up, I might do a new set next year with Schoolhouse Rock
characters on them.