Making Your Own Connections Game: A Fun Classroom Innovation

Every morning, I have a ritual that kickstarts my brain and sets the tone for the day: diving into the New York Times Connections game.

NYT Connections Game in the Classroom

I’m not just a fan; I’m downright obsessed. It’s the perfect blend of challenge and satisfaction, and it got me thinking: why not bring this excitement into the classroom?

Seeing the game’s popularity and its knack for drawing connections between seemingly unrelated concepts, I envisioned a powerful tool for education. The idea? To harness this engaging platform to create custom Connections games tailored for our students. You can read more here!

Creative Classroom Applications of Connections

NYT Connections Game in the Classroom

Here are diverse and dynamic ways to weave Connections into your curriculum, sparking engagement and enhancing learning across various subjects:

  • Vocabulary Expansion: Beyond synonyms and antonyms, use the game to explore homonyms, idiomatic expressions, and academic vocabulary across subjects, enriching students’ linguistic arsenal.
  • Math Mastery: Dive deeper into mathematical concepts by linking equations, shapes, and math principles. Create games that connect different ways to represent numbers (fractions, decimals, percentages) or explore properties of geometric figures, making abstract concepts tangible and fun.
  • Creative Thinking: Challenge students to draw connections between different historical periods, scientific phenomena, or literary themes, promoting critical analysis and innovative thinking.
  • Science Exploration: Foster connections between ecosystems, the life cycle of different organisms, or physical and chemical changes. This approach can help demystify complex scientific concepts through interactive learning.
  • Social Studies Integration: Link historical events across different eras, compare and contrast governmental systems, or connect cultural practices across regions. It’s a fantastic way to make history and geography more relatable and memorable.
  • Literary Links: Encourage students to find themes, motifs, or character archetypes that recur across different works of literature, enhancing their understanding and appreciation of reading.
  • Artistic Associations: Use the game to explore the evolution of art styles, the relationship between music genres, or the connections between various forms of art and historical contexts, fostering a deeper appreciation of the arts.
  • Emotional Intelligence: Craft games that help students identify and connect their emotions with specific scenarios or reactions, promoting self-awareness and empathy in a fun and engaging way.
  • Global Connections: Build games that encourage students to see the interconnectedness of global issues, economies, or cultures, preparing them for thinking on a global scale.
  • Test Prep Fun: Transform test review sessions into an interactive game, where students connect key concepts, definitions, and important dates, making review time something students look forward to rather than dread.

This is just the beginning. By incorporating Connections into your teaching strategy, you’re not just covering the curriculum; you’re inviting your students to see the world as an interconnected web of knowledge and curiosity. It’s about making those lightbulb moments more frequent, engaging, and profound. So, let your creativity lead the way and watch as your classroom transforms into a vibrant learning community, eager to make their next connection.

Step-by-Step: Making Connections Your Classroom’s Highlight

YouTube video

Step 1: Picking a Theme That Resonates It all starts with a theme. What’s buzzing in your classroom? Whether it’s ecosystems, fractions, or Revolutionary War heroes, pick a theme that aligns with your lesson plans.

Step 2: Curating Your List of Words Here’s where your creativity shines. Choose words or concepts that challenge yet engage your students, mixing familiar review topics with new, intriguing concepts.

Step 3: Bringing Your Game to Life Head over to, a godsend for educators looking to customize this NY Times-inspired game. Input your theme and words, and voilà, you’ve created a learning tool that’s both educational and ridiculously fun.

Step 4: Game Time Equals Learning Time Introducing this game to your students is where the magic happens. Use it to spark interest at the start of class, as a dynamic review session, or as a rewarding break. The flexibility of your custom Connections game makes it a perfect fit for any curriculum.

Conclusion: From Obsession to Educational Innovation

My obsession with the NY Times Connections game has pivoted into a mission: to make learning much more fun! By creating your own Connections games, you’re not just teaching; you’re engaging, challenging, and inspiring your students in a way that textbooks alone cannot.

The beauty of this approach lies in its simplicity and the joy it brings to learning. So, why not turn your classroom into a playground of ideas? Let’s make those lightbulb moments even more frequent and fun.

Here’s to making education engaging, one connection at a time!

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