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Bilingual Crossword Puzzle

Want a "puzzling" bilingual workout? Expand your vocabulary with crosswords that classmates invent for each other.

  • Grade 3
    Grade 4
    Grade 5
  • 30 to 60 minutes
  • Directions

    1. Learning a new language takes lots of practice. Making up crossword puzzles is fun and helps strengthen students' vocabulary. Follow these steps to make puzzles.
    2. Choose words. With Crayola® Erasable Colored Pencils, make a list of new words. Include words that share some letters and use both common and uncommon letters (like cabeza and manzana). Pick words that vary in length and difficulty. Next to each one, write the meaning in the English language.
    3. Intersect words. To find intersecting words, start with the longest word. Branch off from this word until as many words as possible are connected. Be sure there is space between every word.
    4. Design the grid. To create the puzzle, use a straight edge to make boxes for each letter in the pattern you formed. Make the boxes big enough to write in. Leave room on the page for clues.
    5. Number the boxes. Start at the top left corner of the puzzle. Assign the first box #1 (it could be an across or a down word.) Moving from left to right down the page, assign the first box of each word a number. Look at other crossword puzzles for numbering ideas.
    6. Write clues. At the bottom of the page, write the numbered clues (the words’ meanings in your familiar language).
    7. Add a border. Decorate the edges of your puzzle page with Crayola Markers. Try to capture the spirit of your new language with traditional designs and colors. On separate paper, record the correct answers.
    8. Solve! Exchange puzzles with classmates for some challenging fun!
  • Standards

    LA: Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher led) with diverse partners on grade level topics and texts, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.

    LA: Acquire and use accurately grade-appropriate conversational, general academic, and domain specific words and phrases, including those that signal spatial and temporal relationships.

    LA: Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development and organization are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

    VA: Select and use the qualities of structures and functions of art to improve communication of their ideas.

  • Adaptations

    Have students make copies of their crossword puzzles and share them with classmates.

    Challenge students to create crossword puzzles that focus on current science or social studies vocabulary from current units of study. Translate terms into the second language being studied by the class. Write the word clues in the second language. Write the term in the students' home language. Or, reverse the process.


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  • Creativity.
  • Capacity.
  • Collaboration.
  • Change.
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