GREENVILLE, S.C. – As students fill hallways for the 2017 schoolyear, one of teachers’ challenges in the classroom will be keeping disruptive students engaged. Standards in Puzzles, created by a teacher for teachers, has developed a simple and effective way to channel that energy by combining a standards-based education curriculum with jigsaw puzzles that helps make learning fun and engaging.
Each puzzle teaches teach subjects such as history, science and mathematics to middle grades students. While the puzzles are the draw, each one comes with a fine-tuned lesson plan that meets a national standards-based curriculum. For example, a dynamic 513-piece puzzle telling the story of World War I comes with a lesson plan that focuses on the curriculum as well as group activities that engage students working on the puzzle or at other stations.
The company was born out of founder Jane DiBridge’s own work in the classroom. A former marketing professional, she switched careers in 2009 to education. While teaching sixth grade English Language Arts, she noticed a student who tended to disrupt class changed completely when working on a puzzle. He would ask if he could work on the 250-piece puzzle during free times, and DiBridge noticed he worked quietly, diligently and well with others on the puzzle.
She started to do research about what happened to people’s minds when working on puzzles. Research conducted by the McArthur Foundation indicates that working on jigsaw puzzles helps people to enter a highly focused, almost meditative, state. According to the Mental Health Guide, turning, fitting, and re-assessing where the pieces might go is great practice in making choices. It requires constant checking and re-evaluation of decisions and emphasizes the process as an integral part of learning.
“In my personal experience, some of the most distracted students enjoyed the puzzles the most, stating that it ‘calmed’ them,” she said.
DiBridge began using puzzles in her classroom, as well as building lesson plans around them to ensure that the time spent on puzzles was also productive. The students responded so strongly to her efforts that she began wondering how to expand her program.
She spent most of 2016 creating and designing the 12 puzzles that have become the first line of Standards in Puzzles. She launched the business officially this spring, and has a warehouse and offices at the Greenville Trade Park.
“Each jigsaw puzzle is designed to encourage intense study of math, science, social studies, and English language arts,” she said.
The company already is working with several schools across South Carolina, and hopes to expand the program nationwide.
“We see the change in educators from when they first hear the concept to when they actually experience it,” she said. “They go ‘wow’ because they see the possibilities in the classroom.”
About Standards in Puzzles:
Standards in Puzzles has developed a simple and effective way to educate young minds by combining a standards-based education curriculum with jigsaw puzzles that helps make learning fun and engaging. Learn more at www.standardsinpuzzles.com or on social media at Facebook , Twitter and Pinterest.