Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Tough Puzzle!

My class, my assistants and I have dubbed this the "hardest puzzle in the world."  It's not, of course.  But it IS a very challenging 750 piece puzzle.

I like to have a puzzle table with an ongoing puzzle set up in my room.  It's a nice anchor activity for my students when they finish work and it also lets me integrate some team building and cooperation conversations throughout the day.  It's also nice to hear the students start to compliment each other when they find pieces and the picture starts to come together.

This particular puzzle was intended to be finished by December.  We finished it the first of May!  There was a period of time when they students really weren't motivated or interested in going back to it because it was so hard.

I was stuck.  Do I take it down and start a new one or push through it?

Luckily, I have the most wonderful paraprofessionals in the world! One day one of them encouraged a student to go over and put one piece in "the hardest puzzle in the world."   He did and then was congratulated for helping us with the "hardest puzzle in the world."  That threw down the challenge and regained the kids' interest in the puzzle.  They started talking about finishing the "hardest puzzle in the world" and actually started to enjoy the challenge of it again.  The crazy thing had been up for so long in the classroom all kinds of pieces were now missing (which made it even harder!)

I'm glad we finished it (to the best of our ability with all those missing pieces.)  It gave them a sense of accomplishment and pride.  They even asked if I would take their picture by "the hardest puzzle in the world."  It also gave us some funny conversation and teasing....they asked me to "Please, never buy another puzzle from Goodwill."  :-)


Queen Bee said...

What a great idea! - thanks for sharing it. If you ever get a chance to visit my classroom you'll feel right at home, because I'm planning to set up a puzzle table in the back of my room!

Come visit my blog at:
On the Road to Accomplished Teaching

jk6 said...

That was wonderful! Thanks for not giving up on that puzzle. Children are so much smarter than we will ever know. I am an inspiring SPED teacher and you are setting a wonderful example!

Michelle_special_ed_teacher said...

@ Queen Bee and jk6:
Thanks for the comments! I'm glad we didn't give up on it too. It was difficult, but they really liked the sense of accomplishment when they finished it.