Thursday, March 22, 2007

The Puzzling Problem with my lack of Practicality



Dear friends, I did it.

I created puzzles.

This may not seem like some sort of high fla-looting achievement but 16 puzzles later I am proud of my accomplishment. I don't know if you've ever tried to make puzzles from scratch but it certainly is no picnic.

A couple weeks ago, I had discovered an idea on the internet (the source of many of my kindergarten classroom ideas) to make SHAPE PUZZLES. The idea was to cut out different shapes from thick poster board to make a puzzle. Well, since I was teaching shapes this week, I ran with the idea. I found some thick poster board paper at the bookstore and took it home to get busy making puzzles. I decided to actually draw shapes and make puzzles with each one. Here are the steps to what turned into a massive puzzle undertaking!!!

1. Locate puzzle material - like I said I found mine at the local liberia (bookstore) for S/ 2.50 (about 79 cents for a big sheet) It's called carton prensada here and is a boxy color.

2. Draw as many shapes as you can on the carton (don't bother thinking about the work that lies ahead!).
I ended up with 4 triangles, 4 circles, 4 squares & 4 rectangles of various sizes.

3. Cut out each shape with your exacto knife and nifty metal ruler on the living room carpet (leaving a horrendous mess! sorry Marga!).

4. Paint each of the 16 shapes white with tempura paint and then paint each one the four colors your classes had learned the week before (red, blue, green & yellow). Thankfully your friend Uri is there to help and there's plenty of company in the living room since the NCCA basketball tournement is on the Mexican ESPN channel and fellow missionary Ron and two of his kids came to watch.

5. After the paint dries, write the names of the shapes in marker on top. Draw puzzle shapes on the backs of the shapes. You are not really quite sure how to do this. Some of the peices are huge and on some of the shapes, smaller but in the end all you can do is hope that it works.

6. Cut, cut, cut out all your peices. I tried it with an exacto knife to find that terribly frustrating. In the end I mostly used my scissors to cut the thick cardboardy like puzzles. My hands were pretty sore by Sunday night but it didn't matter because I had my 4 circle puzzles ready for Monday.

7. Try out the puzzles on the students. Monday we did circles and since I had cut the shapes pretty big they should have been pretty easy. The HARD thing was trying to get the kids to work in groups to do the puzzles. The peices were all over the place and unless you helped them they didn't finish it! It didn't work quite like I wanted but over all I was satisfied. Tuesday was triangles and we had problems with the peices slipping around. One child suggested that they needed a frame. Great idea!

8. Make frames for puzzles. I had to buy another peice of carton prensada to create my frames. I cut them out, painted them and covered them with clear tape to protect. (in fact I was doing that in the combi ride to the school this morning! I think that I'm going to become infamous for all the things that I do on combi rides and it's not really like you have lots of space! hee hee). I tape the frames to the tables and the kids do the puzzles inside of them which works much better.

9. Evaluate the whole experience. Okay so I was being a bit impractical in making 16 puzzles from shapes! Of course, I only see that in retrospect. Some of my puzzles turned out a little too hard for the kids because the peices got too small and too many but others at least worked. The good thing is that now if I ever need shape puzzles, I've got them. Not that the paint will last long. I really wish I had been able to fit my Modge Podge in my suitcase! It would work perfectly... :0)

10. Decide not to make anymore puzzles for a loooooooong time!

Tomorrow, we are going to review our shapes and every student will be able to do a puzzle if they would like. That's about the only nice thing about doing 16 puzzles! Yes, again I fall prey to my lack of practicality but what a PUZZLING lesson to learn!

1 comment:

Zoegirl said...

Haha! Yay!!! Puzzles!!! They at least had fun, didn't they???

(I love the fact that you got creative with it... I thought of you as I was spray-painting the backdrop for my kids show last weekend!)