Every year the first two weeks after Thanksgiving our library is taken over by our PTOs Santa Shop. Although our facility is large enough for two activities to occur at the same time, my teaching time is curtailed by the noise and activity that comes with the Santa Shop. For this reason, I have developed the Great Jigsaw Puzzle Marathon to use with my classes during this time. It has developed over the years. Initially each of the 6 library tables held a 500 piece puzzle which were worked on by students from each class that came to the library for class time....thus the word marathon........ because it usually took several days to complete a puzzle.
Recently, I have just purchased 100 piece puzzles that can be completed in one class period. It is a puzzle race and the table that finishes first wins and each student at that table receives a bookmark.
"Puzzling" is a developmental skill I think. You would be surprised how many students don't know to put the edges together first. I can pick out kids who have put together puzzles with their families. They know the techniques.