Connections fans, rejoice! You and your students can now make your own custom Connections puzzles. TikTok creator and English teacher Laura Randazzo (@Randazzled) is here to show us how and give us examples of how this can be used in the classroom.
What is Connections?
If you’ve never heard of Connections, let me introduce you to your newest obsession. Connections is one of New York Times’ popular games, along with Wordle, Spelling Bee, and the Mini Crossword. Connections starts with a 4 x 4 grid of seemingly random words that you have to sort into four different themed groups of varying difficulty. Themes might have to do with the words’ meanings, their spellings, their connotations—part of the fun is not knowing!
How can I make my own custom Connections puzzles?
Laura Randazzo (@Randazzled) has everything you need in her TikTok. Check it out below:
How can I use custom Connections puzzles in the classroom?
The great thing about Connections is that it works for any content area, and with a little tweaking, it can work for any age! The younger crowd might have trouble making their own puzzles, but they could definitely handle a teacher-created one tailored for their age group.
Laura’s expertise is high school English (we love her TikTok bio: “On a mission to prevent English teacher burnout”), so her examples include:
- Vocab words
- Characters from a work you’re studying
- Important historical figures
But there are tons of other possibilities for other subjects too:
- Content vocabulary
- Eras and time periods
- Groups, categories, or types of information within your content area
- Verb conjugations and tenses for foreign languages
- Review for tests or quizzes
- A fun activity for a meeting or party
Are custom Connections puzzles “rigorous,” though?
As an adult whose brain has been busted more than once just playing a Connections puzzle, I’d say definitely.
What’s great about Connections is that it calls on higher-order thinking skills like identifying themes, determining common elements, and evaluating for accuracy. And if students create their own custom Connections puzzles, they’ll practice skills like designing, experimenting, and evaluating for coherence.
Be sure to check out more from Laura Randazzo on TikTok.
Plus, try playing our custom We Are Teachers puzzle and see how you do!