Review: Back to School Brain Teaser and Vocabulary Builder on Teachers Pay Teachers
The Back to School brain teaser and vocabulary
builder packet from Brain Candy for Young Scholars is a free download available
on Teachers Pay Teachers. The packet gives students a series of activities that
build vocabulary by offering clues and definitions to find words that contain
the “ooo" sound. The packet is a series of worksheets divided into three parts.
The first part is a two-page worksheet focusing on common words that should be
familiar to students in the garget age group. The second part presents more
challenging or less familiar vocabulary in another two-page worksheet, which
should be combined with a dictionary for each student to use. The final section
of the activity book presents a writing prompt with a graphic organizer not
unlike a “mind map" for students to arrange their thoughts and then write an
essay about their idea of the perfect school. An answer key is also included. The
download is labeled as suitable for students in fifth through eighth grades.
The main focus of this activity is vocabulary
development, with an emphasis on words that contain a specific vowel sound. Students
are challenged to use a dictionary in the vocabulary-building sections, and
familiarity with using a dictionary is certainly an important tool for any
student. The simple way to organize an essay that is presented in the last
portion of the packet is effective at clarifying the expectations of the
prompt, and it serves as a fine introduction to this type of visual planning
for students who are new to this type of essay writing. The essay is specific
enough to be a clear, easy-to-understand assignment, but it is also not so
specific as to prohibit additional parameters a teacher might want to add, such
as a length requirement, instruction to include words from the vocabulary
worksheets, or a minimum number of supports for the four main points called for
in the prompt.
For teachers and homeschooling parents who are
looking for a worksheet that will introduce new vocabulary words, build
confidence with using a dictionary, and provide an opportunity to learn and
practice essay planning and writing, the Back to School brain teaser is an
excellent set of worksheets.
Bryan Cohen is the author of more than 30 books, many of which focus on creative writing and blasting through that pesky writer's block. His books have sold more than 20,000 copies. You can find him on Google+ and Facebook.