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Passage Puzzles Serve As Informal Assessment

Whether you are studying haiku or short paragraph construction, passage puzzles help you assess knowledge of sentence structure, grammar, punctuation and meaning all at once. You can provide puzzles for each student or for teams of students.

I gave each of my four teams of students a holiday or season-themed haiku to put together and decipher. To keep everybody focused, I made it a friendly competition to see which team could finish first. All students were motivated to get it done and to see what theme they ended up with. I circulated and heard their reasoning processes for putting the pieces together as they felt they should be and for making changes when necessary.

The result was correctly formed haiku or short paragraphs. Students who were weak in some areas of construction learned from their peers. My students kept asking for more of this challenge. It built focus, literature construction skills and comprehension.

To create passage puzzles, write a haiku or short paragraph on sentence strips. Cut at natural pauses and in between long phrases to start. Cut after commas and first words after a word with a period. After that, it is up to you to cut where you see fit. Happy puzzle making!

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