Monthly Archives: June 2011

How can teachers use crossword puzzles for activities?

Use Crossword Puzzles to Differentiate Instruction

I’m sure we all remember filling in crossword puzzles in elementary school. Somewhere in middle school they became known as “busy work” and might have been done when you finished work early or when you had a substitute. By the time I landed in high school, crossword puzzles were too babyish to do.

I continued this decrease in crossword puzzle tradition when I started to teach. Recently my view has changed. I realized that if I switched the student from the person who fills out the crossword puzzle to the creator, a crossword puzzle might have more to offer secondary students. For one thing, more creative critical thinking can take place. As teachers we need to help our students get used to creating if we want future entrepreneurs in our society.

Creating crossword puzzles allows students to review facts and vocabulary. It also uses multiple intelligence learning styles. The following are used:

  • Linguistic Multiple Intelligence Learning Style: using language to write clues
  • Spatial Multiple Intelligence Learning Style: designing and creating the layout
  • Intrapersonal or Interpersonal Multiple Intelligence Learning Styles: students may work as an individual or with a partner.

A crossword puzzle can be used to differentiate instruction in the classroom. Here are two ways to differentiate instruction while incorporating crossword puzzles:

  • Multiple Intelligence Learning Styles: Give students three other options of activities using other multiple intelligence learning styles and the same content. offers over 50 activity templates with rubrics to help teachers create activity options for their students.
  • Leveling/Tiering/Scaffolding: Provide two different levels of the assignment. Allow students on a lower ability level to use notes and the book to put the definitions in their own words as clues. For the higher ability levels, allow them to also use resources but instead of writing the definitions in their own words for their clues, they can make their clues more clever by using riddles.

Teachers need to make sure that when they differentiate instruction using levels, tiering or scaffolding that they are not just assigning extra work to the higher ability levels. Teachers need to make sure the activities challenge everyone.

Written by,

Kasha Mastrodomenico

What multiple intelligence learning styles are used to complete an obstacle course design activity?

Students really enjoy this activity because it’s something they can visualize themselves doing in a park. It is a good activity to do with a lot of short facts or concepts. It can be a nice review activity and easily differentiated.

Students will take the facts or concepts they are deemed to work with and create a drawing for obstacles a person could overcome. Beneath it they would describe the relationship between the obstacle they created and the concept or fact.

For example, if one was learning about exploration, the first obstacle might be as simple as jumping over a large puddle of water to symbolize crossing the Atlantic Ocean. Each explorer would then have their own obstacle named after them representing either where they explored or their accomplishments.

An obstacle course designer activity uses multiple intelligence learning styles. Multiple intelligence learning styles can help peak the interest of students. The following are used:

  • Spatial Multiple Intelligence Learning Style (drafting the obstacles)
  • Linguistic Multiple Intelligence Learning Style (writing the obstacle name as well as a description as to how it relates to the content)
  • Interpersonal & Intrapersonal Multiple Intelligence Learning Styles (students can do this activity with a partner, a small group or individually depending on their preference)

Differentiating Instruction for an obstacle course activity can be done by offering alternative choices to the students. The other options should use different multiple intelligence learning styles and the same content.

Creating up to four choices of activities using different multiple intelligence learning styles can be time consuming. offers over 50 activity templates with rubrics that will work with almost any content. It saves me a lot of time planning and helps me catch the interest of more students.

Written by,

Kasha Mastrodomenico

What multiple intelligence learning styles are used when a license plate activity is created?

Creating a license plate might seem like a strange activity for a classroom but it is a creative activity that can bring in different multiple intelligence learning styles to a classroom. Teachers can list the content that a student needs to use but that content should be limited. On a license plate there is usually just a small picture like a background or a symbol, the number and letter as well as the state’s logo. That doesn’t allow the student to work with a lot of content. A license plate activity can be done in one period and if need be, finished at home for homework.

A license plate activity uses multiple intelligence learning styles. For the state logo and the letters on the license plate, the linguistic multiple intelligence learning style is used. For the background picture or logo, the spatial multiple intelligence learning style is used. The intrapersonal multiple intelligence learning style is used when a student works alone. The interpersonal multiple intelligence learning style is used if it is done with a partner.

I used a license plate activity when students needed to learn the mayors of Atlanta when I taught GA Studies. Teachers could also use it for geography and have students create one for the regions, continents, states or countries.

Science teachers could also have the students pretend the body is a state and the different organs are people who need personalized license plates.

Teachers can differentiate instruction for this activity by providing other activity choices using the same content but different multiple intelligence learning styles. Activity templates can help teachers plan for this type of differentiated instruction activity quickly. offers 50 activity templates based on multiple intelligence learning styles that come with rubrics. It is a great way to save time planning for differentiated instruction because it can create up to four activity choices that can be provided to students in less than 5 minutes! They are easily changed so that you can get them to be exactly how you need them to be. You can also connect with Kasha Mastrodomenico on

Written by,

Kasha Mastrodomenico