A crossword is a word puzzle that normally takes the form of a square or rectangular grid of white and shaded squares. The goal is to fill the white squares with letters, forming words or phrases, by solving clues which lead to the answers. In languages that are written left-to-right, the answer words and phrases are placed in the grid from left to right and from top to bottom. The shaded squares are used to separate the words or phrases. Squares in which answers begin are usually numbered. The clues are then referred to by these numbers and a direction, for example, "4-Across" or "20-Down". At the end of the clue the total number of letters is sometimes given, depending on the style of puzzle and country of publication. Some crosswords will also indicate the number of words in a given answer, should there be more than one. The horizontal and vertical lines of white cells into which answers are written are commonly called entries or answers.
Combine English language learning with fun games and activities to make your classes more enjoyable for students. Consider using one of the 313 crosswords or board games from this section in your classes to help students learn and practice a variety of topics. For a pre-intermediate activity on the past simple, look at this crossword page. It is a fun boardgame that can help students practice saying past simple verb forms and asking past simple questions. You can alter the rules to make it longer or shorter and even change the words to encourage students to practice particular vocabulary. The most popular worksheets are Christmas themed so feel free to check those out too. These activities have been created by other busy teachers just like you and are all free and easy to print out for use in your classes.
Making English language learning fun for students will help keep them engaged in their lessons. Younger students especially enjoy learning games while older students are more likely to want a more serious learning environment, discount the usefulness of these types of activities, and see them as a waste of time. The number of crosswords and boardgames you include in your course will largely depend on how your students react to them but they have become very common and are an effective ESL teaching tool.
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