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.

You can download your own free copy of the Back to School Brain Teaser and Vocabulary Builder here.

You may also enjoy the following TeachersPayTeachers products:

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- 50 Writing Prompts for Homeschoolers (free)

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Written by Bryan Cohen

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 and Facebook.
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