Last week I shared an interview revealing a little about myself and my hopes and plans for readilearn. I also uploaded some little Who am I? Easter caption books. It’s seems timely then to discuss the value of creating, writing, and reading Who am I? puzzles in the classroom.
Children love solving puzzles and it is good for them to engage in thinking activities. Who am I? puzzles involve deductive reasoning, and are easy for children to write. Solving them means listening attentively to the clues, remembering all the information, relating new information to existing information, and using the clues to eliminate options in order to identify the specific.
In addition, the puzzles can be used to discuss and teach the difference between statements and questions and the appropriate way of punctuating each.
Children can begin by writing statements about themselves, such as those they may have shared in About me booklets. They can also add interesting facts that others may not know about them. Remind children that the order in which clues are presented when writing a Who am I? puzzle is important; always start with the general and work towards the specific. You don’t want to give it all away with the first clue.
Information suitable for children to share in their own Who am I? puzzles includes:
- Favourite food
- Favourite game or sport
- Highest level or score on a video game
- Favourite toy
- Favourite book or character
- What they want to be when they grow up, and
- Description e.g. hair and eyes, can also be included.
Children need to be familiar with Who am I? puzzles before they are expected to write one of their own.
Here are some things you could try:
- Read puzzles to children.
- Make up your own puzzles for children to solve; for example, describe animals, items in the classroom, or things the class is learning about.
- Model writing puzzles, explaining the order in which clues are given; for example, you could write a puzzle about yourself, or a character from a story or picture book.
- Write puzzles collaboratively inviting children to suggest clues and discussing the appropriate order.
- Give children opportunities to write puzzles collaboratively in reading or writing groups.
When presenting puzzles to children, explain that they should wait until they have heard all the clues before guessing. The importance of this could be explained by presenting a series of clues and asking children for possibilities after each one; for example:
- I live on a farm.
- I have four legs.
- I eat grass.
- I give you milk.
- I say, “Moo”.
As each successive clue is given, the number of possibilities decreases, but it is only when the last clue is given that the answer is definite. Prior to that, all other answers are simply guesses. This strategy also reinforces the importance of ordering clues when writing puzzles of their own.
When modelling how to write Who am I? puzzles, it is important to point out their features; for example:
- Each statement begins on a new line.
- Statements are written, one below each other.
- Statements begin with a capital letter and end with a full stop.
- The question Who am I? is written below all the clues and needs a question mark.
- Between four and six is a good number.
- General statements are written first.
- The final clue should make the answer obvious.
When children are writing their own puzzles, it is best for them to brainstorm first, listing ideas and statements about their chosen topic. They should then write a rough draft, or at least number their clues in the order in which they will be presented.
Although I have uploaded a free template to support children writing puzzles about themselves, a piece of A3 or A4 paper folded in half is really all that is required. Place the fold at the top so the page can be lifted to show the picture underneath. Children write their clues on the front and add a photo or drawing underneath, to be revealed when the clues are lifted.
If children are writing puzzles about animals or other topics, they can read their clues to the class. However, if they have written puzzles about themselves, you need to find other ways of sharing their puzzles.
Display the puzzles in the classroom ensuring that the flaps cannot be lifted to reveal the answers.
- Number each puzzle (see Who am I? Friends at play).
- Children read the puzzles independently and write their guesses on a piece of paper. (Hint: Print a numbered sheet. Children write their guesses beside each number. OR Print a class list and children write the number beside the name.)
This is also a fun activity for a buddy class or if parents are coming to visit. After all guesses have been made, the flaps can be lifted and authors identified. Perhaps a prize could be awarded for the one making the most correct guesses.
Who am I? puzzles are not only fun, they are great for developing reading, writing, and thinking skills. Have you tried them with your class yet?
About me booklets
Who am I? Friends at play is an interactive digital story that presents six Who am I? puzzles in a scenario of friends at play.
The resource can be used:
- to introduce Who am I? puzzles
- to explain the structure of puzzles
- to model writing puzzles
- for writing puzzles collaboratively, and
- as a reference for children’s own writing.
The resource includes a Who am I? Friends at play – booklet: A printable copy of the story and puzzles which can be placed in the reading corner, used by individuals as a reference for independent writing, or used in reading groups. (Note: This booklet is available only from within the digital resource.)
Who am I? puzzle sheet A template that children can use for writing their own Who am I? puzzles. (This sheet, available as a separate resource, is free to registered users.)
Who am I? Friends at play – How to use this resource suggests ways of using the interactive digital resource, including many of the suggestions included in this article. Free!
Subscribe before Easter Sunday 16 April for a 20% discount off your first year’s subscription. Simply use the coupon code “Easter” at the checkout.
I hope you and your children enjoy using these resources. I’ll see you next week with a new logic puzzle for Easter. Until then, have fun!
Thank you for reading.
Happy teaching and learning,
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