A new way to Wordoku

I think that I have thought of a good way to add value to Wordoku puzzles. (A Wordoku is a Sudoku puzzle that contains words instead of numbers.) I’ve created several Wordoku puzzles for my students to use that contain thematic vocabulary. (Click on this link to see some examples.) I like having puzzles on hand that fit in with whatever we are studying because they make great fast finisher activities: the students that finish activities quickly generally really enjoy the logical challenge provided by a Wordoku puzzle or a Logic puzzle. In the thematic puzzles, I use a combination of target language words and clipart image representations of the words in the puzzle so that students have to constantly recall the meaning of each word in order to complete the puzzle. But I kept thinking…”There has to be a better way!” Well, I think that maybe I’ve found a better way. I’m interested to hear what you think!

chico del apartamento wordokuFor each of the two puzzles that I created today, I wrote a sentence that contains target structures from one of my Spanish 1 units. For the unit “El chico del apartamento 512“, I used the sentence “El hombre quiere hablar con la mujer porque él piensa que ella es fascinante”. (“The man wants to talk with the woman because he thinks that she is fascinating.”) For the unit “El viajero“, I used the sentence “Mucha gente llega a este país a través de la frontera con la ayuda de coyotes”. (“Many people arrive at this country across the border with the help of coyotes.”) I divided each sentence into nine chunks. I then created the puzzle using a combination of the original Spanish chunks, translations of the chunks, and images that visually represent each chunk. This requires students to think about the meaning of the language as they try to fill in the puzzle, as opposed to just memorizing the sentence in Spanish and making sure that each 9-square box, row, and column contains all of the nine chunks. There is a key at the bottom of the puzzle so that students know what each image is supposed to represent, since images can be misinterpreted. My thought is that this will give students more meaningful repetitions of the target structures because they are contextualized. What do you think…is this wishful thinking on my part?

You can download the “El chico del apartamento 512” puzzle here (free), and you can download the immigrant puzzle here. If anyone would like translations of the puzzles for their language of instruction, please email me the translations, divided into nine chunks, and I will format it for you. martinaebex@gmail.com


  1. This is excellent! My students didn’t love Wordoku so much, but I can make such a better argument for Sentence-oku!


  2. […] New (to my blog) this year is this Christmas Wordoku that features statements instead of isolated vocabulary words. Ideally, you would discuss the statements using techniques like circling and personalization in order to provide comprehensible input even from a basic vocabulary puzzle. Read more about how I’ve tried to legitimize Wordokus here. […]


  3. Hi Martina,

    I love the idea of this and would like to make my own, but can’t conceptualize how you put this together. I teach Latin so I can’t just use one of your examples. Could you explain the process of creating this for students?


    • (1) Create a list of 9 vocabulary words or chunks; in this type of wordoku, they should all fit into a sentence or paragraph (2) Number the words or chunks 1-9 (3) Find an easy Sudoku puzzle (4) Replace the numbers with your words (5) Write the sentence at the bottom. When possible, I pair the words or chunks with images so that there is an element of comprehension required.


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