August 6, 2013

Tried It Tuesday: Smilemakers

I'm linking up for the first time with Holly over at Fourth Grade Flipper for Tried It Tuesday.

This week I tried something really cool that brought a smile to my face and the faces of two young people, one who happens to be a thirteen year old boy, and if you can make this creature smile, you've got a winner!

A few weeks ago I was contacted by a representative from SmileMakers, a company dedicated to helping teachers create smiles for over 35 years. They offer unique, fun items for the classroom as well as supplies and teaching aids.

I was invited to preview a product of my choice in exchange for sharing it here on my blog. It took me but a second to accept the offer, but it took me several days to make a decision regarding which product to choose. I looked through the SmileMakers website, which is easy to search and navigate, and settled on an item that would directly benefit my sixth grade Language Arts students.

Classwords arrived last Friday while I was away for the day. I couldn't wait to open the package when I saw it waiting on my porch. My niece and her two children (ages 12 and 13) were with me. We had to unpack and start getting dinner ready, but as soon as those two chores were done, I was into my SmileMakers' package. Boy, did the four of us have fun while we waited for dinner to cook!

We looked at the outside of the box and read it carefully. The primary objectives were stated: give clues, guess words, get smart... LOVE that last one! There were also semi-directions on the box, enough to give us an idea of how to play... it sounded just like PASSWORD...

... and once we saw this side of the box, and how the cards were designed, we were ready!

Inside the box was a set of cards, a timer, and a direction sheet.

We didn't bother with the directions at first, we just dived right in. Here's the first card that I pulled from the stack.

I started with reading the word "different" aloud. My family began shouting out words related to "different." After each of their incorrect guesses I would read the next word on my card. By the time I got to "unusual" my grand nephew guessed "unique." He was hooked! We played like this for more than 30 minutes straight. If they got stuck, I just continued giving clues related to the word's definition or part of speech. If they were really stuck I just started slowly spelling the word letter-by-letter. We didn't keep score, we just had FUN, and exercised our brains in the bargain!

Eventually, I did take time to read the directions which are concise and easy to follow. There are three different partner style games described, each with varying degrees of difficulty. Additionally, suggestions for variations and ways to extend the game are provided. There is even a template that can be enlarged and printed for making your own cards.

I'm so happy that I received Classwords. I know that my students will enjoy playing it and learning from it just as much as my family did. I can't wait to try it with them. It won't be long; we start back to school on August 22nd, but before then I think I need to make another visit to the SmileMaker website. I saw a few things that I really would like to order for my classroom, and I can take advantage of their Teacher Perks program, earning additional savings and discounts on shipping and handling. I'm really glad that I tried SmileMakers, and I think you will be, too!


Something else to try for some other great teaching products, these crafted by fellow teachers: head on over to Preslar's Palace for her great Back to School Linky Party where teachers are featuring their favorite back to school creations both free and paid.

Happy Teaching,
The Teacher's Desk 6


  1. That sounds like a fun game! I love word games!!
    Grade 4 Buzz

  2. That sounds like a GREAT game! Thanks for the tip-off! ~Deb
    Crafting Connections

  3. Oh...I like the idea of the Classwords game!
    Rockin' and Lovin' Learnin'

  4. Classwords sounds so fun!! I have never heard of Smilemakers either. Thank you so much for sharing and linking up!!
    Fourth Grade Flipper


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