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January 6, 2013

This is another neat puzzle idea that came through the FLTeach Listserv from Deb Blaz. A Wordoku is a Sudoku puzzle that uses nine different words instead of the numbers 1-9. The nine words must be placed in a 9x9 grid so that each word appears once and only once in each row and each column. The 9x9 grid is divided further into nine 3x3 grids, and each word must appear once and only once in each 3x3 grid. The puzzle grid contains a mixture of words in the target language and images so that students are challenged to think about the meaning of the words, as opposed to just checking unfamiliar terms off a list. Wordokus offer students with mathematical minds a way to interact with vocabulary in a mentally stimulating way.

While Wordokus are fun and can be beneficial, I still prefer to use logic puzzles because students must read and ponder entire sentences (vocabulary in context) in order to find the solution. Wordokus work well as homework in traditional vocabulary units or as enrichment in TPRS units. For example, my students always want to talk about moose and bears when discussing fears. This Alaskan Animals Wordoku (free download) is a great activity to use in the Buscando un animal doméstico unit for that reason. This School Supplies Wordoku (in a puzzle pack with a logic puzzle) works well in the Las novias de mi hermano unit, since students learn the word "tiene" (has). This puzzle pack practices class schedule vocabulary, which can be used in the La Universidad unit or even Cierra la Puerta. I would either assign them as homework or have them available to complete for students that finish assignments early (possibly in laminated extra time folders).

How would you use Wordokus? Can you think of a way to make them more CI-friendly?

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