Over the summer I got the great idea to have a puzzle table in my classroom from Michelle at Special Education Strategies and More.... I was super excited to implement the puzzle table at school this year because I have noticed that puzzles are something my students have great difficulties with, and it makes a great quiet activity for fast finishers.
To start I had to teach my students the steps of doing puzzles the "correct" way.
1. take the puzzle pieces out of the box
2. flip all the pieces right side up
3. find all the "flat" pieces and put the boarder together
4. begin looking for similar colors and put the inside together
5. complete puzzle
6. put it away
We also had to go over rules. Since the puzzle table is for fast finishers there is NO talking at the puzzle table because that means other people are still working, and we need to respect them. This has been a bit of a struggle, and requires lots of reminders.
Well, when we first started the puzzle table we used big floor puzzles on our table so that the puzzle area was contained but I wanted to start with big pieces since they are easier to manipulate. That meant there wasn't always enough room for all the pieces on the table. So they had to leave all the "flat" pieces on the table and take the rest off.
WELL...(HERE IS THE HIGHLIGHT OF MY DAY:) after a sort of rough day of feeling ineffective and lost in the haze of RtI/Spec ed and having a 45 min mandatory book study meeting, I returned to my room at 4:00. To get to my desk I walk by the puzzle table and happened to notice that the students had started a new puzzle today and some of the pieces were on the book shelf while others were on the table. After a closer inspection, I realized the "flat" pieces were the only pieces left on the table and all the pieces were facing right side up AND they had done this quietly!!!! THIS MADE ME SOOOO HAPPY:-D
Here is the picture I had to take. Notice the pieces on the white shelf....those are all the inside pieces.
My puzzle table also serves as a bit of a motivator for my students to complete their work because they want to work on the puzzle.