Imagine. A busy teacher needs to get a homework assignment out the door. Instead of the typical memorizing of historical facts, spelling words, or math problems, a WordFind puzzle comes home. The topic? Every kid’s name is hidden in this mountain of letters. At this stage of the school year, I felt this was a terrible assignment. Learning about your classmates should be a week one test. First name. Last name. Parents. Dogs. Favorite books. But this wasn’t just any old puzzle. It was a full page. Seven-point font. It was a word find where you couldn’t see the letters to find the words. No, it wasn’t impossible. Challenging. How the kids went about it was fascinating. Here were the highlights:

  • Parents. This could be viewed as a lazy way out. However, parents have old eyes. You get tired of looking at tiny font. One parent had his kid turn in the finished assignment with “Seriously?” written at the top.
  • Grandparents. Most have Sherlock Holmes Tools, the magnifying glass.
  • Time management. Twenty-five kids in the class. It’s always the last two names causing the most trouble. So, why find them? Instead, listen to music, watch Disney’s Once Upon a Time, or read a book. It’s still 92%. Better done than good.
  • One enterprising young child solved the puzzle and then sold the solution to four other students.
  • What did the kids with the highest grade point average do? They were the buyers.


  • Picture is from a placemat at the Loveless Cafe, Nashville, TN.