Using Interactive Crosswords For Spelling

Challenge – Most learners find English spelling extremely difficult and it can be hard to find engaging ways to help them retain all the words they learn in lessons.  The solution presented here is to use an interactive crossword which learners can fill in themselves online.  This  gives a memorable and visual way to remember spelling and vocabulary.  The crossword can be controlled by the teacher or the learner depending on learners’ technological skills.

Tools Used – Zoom Breakout Rooms, Crossword Labs


Activity Outline

In this example the learners were given the challenge to dictate / scribe two movie reIn this example, learners were going to fill in a crossword on vocabulary relating to apartments and houses.  First, they learnt / revised vocabulary on this topic (adapted from here). Then, they went into breakout rooms and tried to remember all the correct vocabulary and spelling.

Instructions

Before the Lesson:

1 – Teacher creates an interactive crossword using Crossword Labs.   My example looked like this:

Lesson:
Version 1: Learners with high technology skills

1 – After being introduced to the new vocabulary, share the crossword link with a learner who is using a laptop and make sure they understand how to fill it in by clicking on the squares.  This learner will also need to be able to share their screen.  Learners on phones might find it difficult to fill in the crossword as their screens are small, but it is possible.

2 – Make sure learners understand they are not to look at the spellings they have written down in the first part of the lesson.  This exercise is to help them learn from their mistakes and remember correct spellings.

3 – Learner shares screen so everyone can see the crossword.

4 – Learners take it in turns to read out the clues and help the nominated learner spell the words correctly and fill in the crossword.  Everyone can see the crossword being filled in real-time.

Version 2: Learners with low technology skills

1 –  After being introduced to the new vocabulary, teacher opens the crossword link and shares their screen.

2 –  Make sure learners understand they are not to look at the spellings they have written down in the first part of the lesson.  This exercise is to help them learn from their mistakes and remember correct spellings.

3 –  Learners take it in turns to read out the clues, give answers and spell the words correctly.  Teacher fills in the crossword and everyone can see the crossword being filled in real-time.

Note:

  • If the crossword is big, learners on phones might need to scroll around their screen in order to see the clue being filled in.
Version 3: Multiple learners with very high technology skills

1 –  As multiple people can use the same crossword at the same time without seeing other users’ entries, this activity can also be done with multiple groups using breakout rooms.

2 –  First, you will need to make sure you have one nominated learner for each group who can share their screen.  It is much easier if this learner is on a laptop.

3 –  Split learners into groups in breakout rooms and give the nominated learner the crossword link. This learner will share their screen and fill in the crossword.

4 –  Learners complete the exercise as above.


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