TWO TOO Many Owls TO Count on TUEsday (TwosDay, 2-22-22)

To, Two, Too: A Homophone Quadruple Play

I, like many of you, am loving the fact that February 22, 2022, falls on a Tuesday. The thought of all those twos together makes my hyper-organized, pattern-loving heart just go pitter-patter. And what better way to celebrate a day of twos than with a homophone activity all about two…or to…or too…

When I first dreamed up this activity, the concept of TwosDay had not been realized yet, at least by me. I was simply thinking about random teacher things and for some reason to-two-too was stuck in my head (probably because I was working on a lesson about its/it’s). For some reason this lead to thoughts of owls and the whoo-whoo sound they make (at least in English) and how who rhymes with too. I’ll spare you the full description of my convoluted thoughts and just say that the end result was this owl-themed quadruple play activity practicing distinguishing between the usage of to, two, and too. In the interest of full disclosure, I do have slight feelings of guilt related to the theme of this particular activity. While I do appreciate the sound-play of the rhyming too-whoo situation, as an ESL teacher I find it a little cruel to do this to language students. Animals make different sounds in different languages and owls do not say too in English. While I recognize this could be a little confusing for learners, I finally decided it was not a huge problem and went with it.

Each of the sentences is about owls, most featuring interesting facts. Some of the sentences are:

  • Owls are nocturnal, that means they go _______ bed when the sun comes up.
  • We refer _______ a group of owls as a parliament.
  • There are around 200 species of owls. That’s a _______ with _____ zeros after it.
  • Our aviary has parrots, cockatoos, and owls, ________.
  • Many owls have ears that are located at _______ different heights on their heads.

There are 24 different sentences in total and I had a lot of fun learning about owls while writing them.

We spend a lot of time practicing homophones in my classes, and we do a lot of different activities with task cards. Since every class is different, and no class likes to do the same activity over and over again, I typically make my task card sets into what I call quadruple play activities. I explained this in an earlier post, but I’ll give you a quick run-down of my students’ four favorite ways to use task cards here as well.

  1. Slap– I use heavy duty magnets to attach large signs with the answer choices on the board. Students are divided into two teams and each team is given a fly swatter. One person from each team stands in front of the board, fly swatter in head. I read one of the sentences (or display it via the doc cam) and the students race to be the first person to slap the correct word to complete the sentence. The winner gains a point for his/her team and the fly swatters are passed to new team members.
  2. Response Cards– Each student is given small cards with the answer choices on them. I read one of the sentences (usually displaying it via the doc cam again) aloud. All of the students then hold up their choice for the correct word to complete the sentence. This is a great way for me to quickly assess which students understand the concept and which need a little more help. What I particularly love is the quieter students are included as well, yet do not have to face the anxiety of “performing” in front of the group. A little tip: tell students not to hold up their cards until you give a signal. This prevents students from simply copying the answer of early responders.
  3. Scoot / Task Cards– There are a variety of ways to use task cards, but the two most popular are card scoot or student scoot. In card scoot, each student is given a recording sheet and one task card. The students then record their answer for that particular card in the correct square of the recording sheet, passing the card to the next student when finished. Alternatively, my students like to just pile the entire set in the center of the table, grab one, record the answer, and exchange it for another from the pile (this means I need one set of cards for each group of 4-6 students, rather than a single set for the entire class, but it works well). In student scoot, cards are hung up or scattered around the room. Students carry their recording sheet with them as they wander, writing down their answers as they find the various cards around the room. Student scoot is a great way to incorporate movement into your day but does require a little more in the way of classroom management. I also recommend giving students clipboards on which to brace their papers or some may be returned with holes in them.
  4. Clip Cards– This is a good way to use task cards in a center. Place the cards and a basket of clothes pins in the center. Students use the clothes pins to indicate which word will correctly complete each sentence. They can check one another’s work or you can provide them with an answer key in a folder to check themselves.

These four activities are far from the only ways we use task cards in my class (someday I’ll have to do an entire post with various ways to use task cards), but they are the most popular. As I tell my students, unfortunately the only way to learn the various homophones is through practice–but that doesn’t mean the practice has to be boring. Here’s to a creative and fun TwosDay! Happy teaching, everyone!

Need other homophone activities? There may not be a “perfect” date for these other homophone sets, but learning to distinguish between them is necessary anyway.

Your vs. You’re

Their vs. There vs. They’re

Are vs. Our vs. Hour

Whose vs. Who’s

Its vs. It’s

Mixed Practice

Homophone Practice Bundle: Multiple Sets, 20% Discount

Homophone Days of Yore

I, like every language teacher, impress on my students the importance of listening carefully to what they hear. My students, like most language students, generally follow my advice and listen closely in order to hear subtle differences in the words we use. This is good practice and serves them well, until we have extra difficult words. Case in point: homophones.

Homophones are their own special brand of torture, in my opinion. Words that sound exactly the same but have different meanings? The only thing that’s worse is homonyms! At least homophones have the decency to have different spellings! Homophones are just one of the many reasons we spend a lot of time in my class working on context clues (see other posts, such as Contranym Context Clues, for information about some of the ways we practice this skill), but sometimes we need to practice distinguishing between specific sets of homophones.

Finding activities to practice distinguishing between specific homophone pairs/triplets can be frustrating at times. It’s not that specific activities don’t exist, rather that they are generally geared towards younger learners (which makes sense since homophone instruction begins as early as kindergarten). As a teacher of older learners (formerly middle school, now adults) who are also new to English, I need to help my students with these basic skills, but I don’t want to bore or insult them with the activities we do. This is why I often find myself making my own supplemental practice activities–not because I have terribly new ideas, but because my students need something I haven’t been able to find elsewhere.

The Theme

I generally find the hardest part of creating these activities to be thinking of practice sentences/questions. It’s easier when I have a theme, and I’ll often take my theme from the unit the activity was originally created to accompany, but sometimes my theme choice is a little more…well, let’s call it creative. This is one of those times. I don’t completely remember why I was thinking about the homophones your and you’re, but as I was considering them the third version (yore) popped into my head. My immediate thought was, “Well, at least we don’t often use that one.” But the thought was there and ultimately lead to my theme: historical facts and customs. This activity is one I use almost exclusively with beginners and low intermediate students, so I saw no reason to include the actual word “yore” in the practice exercises.

Paper Activities

Homophone Days of Yore: Paper

Similar to my Am, Is, Are Triple Play activity, the task card set I designed for your vs. you’re can be used in multiple ways: to play Slap, as individual response cards, as straight task cards, or as clip cards. For a description of how to play Slap, use response cards, or use task cards for Scoot activities, see the blog post To Be: In The World Series. Since this particular activity is themed around history, not baseball, and therefore “triple play” doesn’t have a double meaning, I’ll explain a fourth way of using the task cards.

Using the task cards as clip cards is exactly what it sounds like: students use clips (clothes pins) to indicate which homophone (your/you’re) correctly completes the sentence. This is a great way to use task cards as center activities (yes, centers are beneficial for older learners too). I simply put a large basket of clothes pins in the center along with several sets of task cards (print on different colors of cardstock for easy sorting later). Students can work on the task cards and then check one another’s work. If they cannot agree on an answer, or are unsure, they can ask or check an answer key I provide (place inside a manilla folder so they don’t accidentally see it).

Digital Version

Digital Version: Sheets

While my students and I all enjoy Slap, Scoot, and the other paper activities, I find that I often don’t have time in class, especially with my adult students, to work on such discrete skills as specific homophone pairs. For these skills I need to be able to provide students with practice activities they can do on their own, usually at home, and that automatically provide feedback regarding the accuracy of their answers. I don’t want them to have to wait for me to check their work, and (to be quite honest) I don’t have time to check more work.

Digital task cards are always an option, especially self-grading digital task cards, but we already use those quite a bit in my classes. Something my middle schoolers loved, but I never used much with my adults, is mystery pictures. A couple of semesters ago my adults were struggling with identifying the number of syllables in a word, so I offered them a syllable mystery picture as extra practice. The next class they all told me how much they enjoyed it and asked if I had any others they could try. Remembering that experience, I decided to make a digital mystery picture for practicing your vs. you’re. (Step-by-step directions, written and video, for creating your own digital mystery picture activity are available in this blog post.)

For me, the most difficult part of creating a mystery picture is the creation of the picture itself. I am not an artist, so my abilities are limited to simple shapes. Once again I started thinking about the third “yore” and how my students would feel/react when they eventually learned of its existence. That resulted in the picture you see above, an annoyed emoji-like face with the words, “There’s a third!” The students love it and tell me how perfect it is.

The other feature I included in this particular mystery picture is drop down answer choices (step-by-step directions for creating this feature are in this blog post). In my experience, my beginning level students’ greatest struggle with these independent digital activities is the spelling of the words. If even one thing is off about their typing, the answer is marked as incorrect. By providing them with the opportunity to simply click on the answer from a menu this problem is eliminated (and they get practice reading the different spellings of the homophones).


Homophones are not going anywhere. As much as I’d love to help my students and remove this particular torture from the English language, it’s just not possible; but I can provide them with interesting, and age-appropriate, practice activities/sentences. Student response to this particular sentence set has been overwhelmingly positive, and more than once I’ve found students spending more time discussing their thoughts about a particular custom than doing the actual activity (speaking practice!). Middle school boys seem to especially enjoy the sentence about an ancient Japanese form of suicide in which you slit your own stomach open; and the women often react to the one about coloring your teeth black to enhance your beauty. While the teacher of beginning level students in me still cringes a bit at the inclusion of the word “yore” (even in the title) in the activity, the side of me that loves playing with language is still stronger and so it has stayed. It hasn’t resulted in any real confusion and the students are exposed to a new vocabulary word. Happy teaching, everyone!

Looking for more homophone activities? Here are some to consider:

Or get a bundle of activities for 20% off!

Homophone Sghoul & Self-Grading Task Cards With Drop Down Menu How To

Even though Christmas items are already starting to take over in stores around me it’s still October and Halloween is next on my calendar. In the past I’ve shared about the Spooky Synonyms bulletin board my students have done and one of our favorite pieces of Halloween literature, but I’m really excited about the treat I have for this year–a trick to make self-grading digital task cards even better!

Homophone Sghoul: Paper Version

The Activity:

Homophone Sghoul, task cards to practice the use of their/there/they’re is the latest spooky craze with my students. In these twenty-four school-themed sentences, students help the ghost choose the correct school (their, there, they’re) to complete the sentence. The cards can be used as task cards, a board game, a slap game, or response cards. If you’re not familiar with these terms, here’s a quick overview of each:

Task Cards: students choose a card, read it, record their answer in the correct box of a paper recording sheet, and then replace the card before choosing another. Some people refer to these cards as “Scoot” and, rather than giving groups of students entire sets of cards, pass out one card to each student. The students then pass the cards from person to person until every student has seen every card. I’ve also used the cards as a student scoot. I hang them around the room, or set them on various flat surfaces, and give each student a recording sheet and clipboard. The students then walk around the room, reading cards and recording their answers, until they’ve completed all of the tasks.

Board Game: use the sentence cards as the game cards. Students draw a card, verbally complete the sentence, and (if correct) roll/move their piece on the game board. I give groups an answer card they can use to check who is correct if a dispute occurs.

Slap: this is a fun whole class game. I use strong magnets to attach large answer signs to the whiteboard. The class is divided into two teams and each team is given a fly swatter. One student from each team comes to the front. I read a sentence and students use the fly swatter to slap the correct word to complete the sentence. The first person to correctly slap the word wins a point for his/her team.

Response Cards: give each student a set of small cards with a single answer on each. Read a single sentence aloud. Students hold up the card with the correct word to complete the sentence. This is a great way to quickly judge which students understand the material and which do not.

Homophone Sghoul Self-Grading Task Cards: Google Sheets
Homophone Sghoul Self-Grading Task Cards: Microsoft Excel

The Digital Version:

Enough about the paper version though, what I’m really excited about is the self-grading digital task card version of the activity. It was August of 2020, that I shared with you how to make self-grading digital task cards using Google Sheets. They work great and both my students and I have enjoyed using them to practice many different skills. The only thing I didn’t particularly like was how students had to spell words exactly right or have them marked incorrect. This was most evident to me when some of my beginning level students were practicing the use of much or many and one student spelled many with an e (meny) on every single “card.” While I do think it’s important for students to practice spelling words correctly, that wasn’t my first priority with this particular activity. It was also a source of frustration for the student, who thought she didn’t understand the lesson (but she actually did–she had used the word many correctly every time). I started thinking about it, trying to find a solution to the problem, and decided to experiment with using a drop down menu, along with the conditional formatting, to create the task cards. It ended up working like a charm and here are the step-by-step directions for creating your own self-grading digital task cards, complete with drop down menu answers.

The How To:

In the original post I gave you step-by-step directions for creating these cards in Google Sheets. This time I’ll give you the directions for using Microsoft Excel to create the cards. The process is similar, but there are slight differences, so I’ll include Sheets-specific directions for creating the drop down menu. The good news is the files transfer well, so it is possible to create in one program and up or download it into the other with minimal effort.

  1. Set up your directions tab.
    • Right click on the first tab at the bottom of your sheet.
    • Click rename and type “directions.” Hit enter.
    • Type directions for the students into the first cell at the top of the page. You can always type a list by placing each subsequent direction in the next cell/row down.
  2. Add more tabs (sheets) to your document.
    • Add a new tab by clicking the + at the bottom of the screen.
    • Rename the tab “1”
    • Add another tab by clicking the +
    • Rename the tab “Answers”
    • Add a third tab by clicking the +
    • Rename the third tab “Grade”
  3. Create your first task card.
    • Click on tab 1.
    • Add pictures and arrange them as you see fit by clicking Insert, Pictures before resizing and dragging/dropping them into position.
    • Choose a cell to be your answer cell
      • Change the color of it by clicking Home and the Paint Can.
      • Also on the Home menu, set the justification for the cell to “center” and adjust the font and font size.
    • The cell directly to the left of the answer cell will become the first half of your sentence/task (everything before the blank on the paper version).
      • Be sure this cell is set to right justification.
      • Adjust the font and size.
      • Type the first half of your sentence.
    • The cell directly to the right of the answer cell will become the second half of your sentence/task (everything after the blank on the paper version).
      • Be sure this cell is set to left justification (should be automatically set to this).
      • Adjust the font and size.
      • Type the second half of your sentence.
  4. Click on the answer cell on your first card (tab 1) and set up the drop down menu.
    • Excel directions for a short list:
      • Click on Data.
      • Click Data Validation
      • Click Data Validation again (in the drop down menu)
      • Under Settings and Allow choose List.
      • Under Settings and Source type your answer options, separate them with commas (in my case I typed: there, their, they’re)
      • Click OK
    • Excel directions for a long list:
      • If you have a long list of answer options you’ll want to create a hidden sheet/tab and type each option into a different cell in a single column.
      • Then, on the sheet where you want to add the drop down menu, click on the cell where the menu will appear.
      • Click on Data
      • Click on Data Validation
      • Click on Data Validation again
      • On the Settings tab under Allow choose List
      • Click the up arrow (source icon) at the end of the Source box.
      • Select your list of items on the hidden sheet.
      • Click OK.
    • Sheets directions:
      • Click on Data
      • Click on Data Validation
      • Under Criteria choose List of Items
      • Enter the items, separated by commas, in the next box.
      • Be sure to click the “Reject input” option for On invalid data
      • Click save
    • If you prefer to see these directions as a video, you can check out these two videos (not mine) on YouTube:
  5. Create more task cards
    • Create enough task cards so you will have one card per sentence/task.
      • Right click on tab 1.
      • Select move or copy
      • Click Create Copy
      • Click on “Answers” in the Before Sheet box (if you forget this step you can always drag and drop the tab later)
      • Click OK
    • Rename each card with ascending numbers.
      • Right click on the new tab.
      • Click Rename
      • Type the appropriate number
      • Hit enter
    • Go to each card and change the image(s) (if desired) and type in the sentence halves for each number.
  6. It’s now time to set up the Answer tab. This is one of the longer parts.
    • In the top row type the words Question, Answer, Points in adjacent columns.
    • Enter numbers in the question tab
      • Click on the first cell under Question
      • Type 1
      • Highlight all the cells 1 to the final answer (I highlighted cells 2-25 for 24 questions total).
      • On the Home menu click Fill, Series (column, linear, step value 1), OK
    • Set up the answers column
      • Click on the first cell under Answer
      • Type =
      • Click on the corresponding question tab at the bottom of the screen
      • Click the answer (colored) cell
      • Click enter
      • Repeat these steps for each of the cells in the answer column
    • Set up the points column
      • Click on the first cell under Points
      • Type =(
      • Click on the corresponding answer cell (should be the cell just to the left)
      • Type = “answer“1,0) **Do not type the word answer though–type the correct answer for the sentence. On my cards I typed either =”their”1,0) or =”they’re”1,0) or =”there”1,0).
      • Hit enter
      • Copy this down the column by grabbing the bottom right corner of the cell (cursor will turn into a +) and dragging down to the last cell in the list.
      • Go back to each cell in the points column and be sure the answer (word in quotation marks) is correct for the given sentence.
    • Add a cell for total score.
      • At the bottom of the Question/Answer/Points column leave one row/cell empty.
      • In the next cell down of the Answer column type Score
      • Click the adjacent cell (Points column)
      • In the Home menu click AutoSum
      • Check that the correct cells are highlighted (only the Points column cells for the sentences/tasks).
      • Hit enter.
    • Add a cell for percentage score.
      • Skip a row after the score cells.
      • In the next cell down of the Answer column type Percent
      • Click the adjacent cell (Points column)
      • Type =
      • Click the cell with the total score (should be two cells above your current cell).
      • Type /# of questions **Do not type the words “# of questions”–type the actual number of questions. On my cards I typed 24 because I had 24 sentences.
      • Hit enter.
      • Click on the cell again.
      • Right click.
      • Click Format cells, Number, Percent, OK.
    • Conditionally format the Answer cells
      • Click on the first cell under the word Answer.
      • On the Home menu click Conditional Formatting
      • Click Highlight Cell Rules
      • Click Text that contains
      • Type the correct answer for that question/sentence
      • Choose the color you want the cell to turn (I chose green)
      • Click OK
    • You will likely want to hide this tab. This allows you to know exactly which questions the students missed, but keeps that information from the students. They will still be able to see their score on the grade tab, and go back to make corrections if they choose, but they will not know exactly which numbers were incorrect. This forces them to actually think about the answers, rather than just click through the options on the drop down menu until the answer registers as correct on the Answers tab.
      • To hide this tab:
        • Right click on Answers at the bottom.
        • Click Hide
      • To reveal this tab (when you are ready to look at it):
        • Right click on any tab at the bottom.
        • Click Unhide
        • Click the name of the tab you want to reveal
        • Click OK
  7. Set up the Grade Tab.
    • Click on the tab Grade.
    • Add any pictures you’d like to have by clicking Insert-Image.
    • Add whatever text you’d like students to see.
    • Choose an empty cell and type the word Score.
    • Skip a row and type the word Percent.
    • Click the cell adjacent to Score
      • Type =
      • Click the Answer tab
      • Click the cell with the total score in it
      • Hit enter
    • Click the cell adjacent to Percent.
      • Type =
      • Click the Answer tab
      • Click the cell with the total percent in it
      • Hit enter

The Wrap Up:

As I shared in my post a little over a year ago, self-grading digital task cards are great. There’s no printing/laminating/cutting to do, students get a lot of good practice with various skills, and teachers still get the formative assessment data they need. Happy teaching, everyone!

Digital Task Cards

Can or May? Slides Version
Its or It’s? A Vacation Slides Version
See these task cards in action!
Pirate Homophones: Are, Our, Hour: Slides Version
See these task cards in action!

How many times have you given your students a Google Slides or PowerPoint presentation and they just clicked through it rather than using the buttons provided? Frustrating isn’t it? The point of the activity is for them to click in the places we want them to click and yet, either by accident or on purpose, they always seem to miss things by randomly clicking elsewhere on the slide. Today I’m going to show you how to fix this problem. I’ll warn you now: this can be time consuming! But, it is worth it in the end. This post gives step-by-step instructions, but if you prefer a video, skip to the end. 

First, as always, design your slides elsewhere, I usually use PowerPoint, even if I’m going to be giving my students a PowerPoint in the end. Doing the design work this way prevents any accidental (or accidentally-on-purpose) deletion or editing of the slide contents. When designing your slides be sure to create words or “buttons” that students will click on to “answer” the questions. Each feedback slide (tells students if they were correct or not) needs to include a “button” that links to the next question. Once you have all of the parts designed, save your PowerPoint slides as images.

  1. Click on “Save As”
  2. Change the file type to either .jpg or .png, either will work.
  3. Tell it to save all slides and wait a moment. A new folder will be created with images of each slide. 

You are now ready to create your file that will ultimately be shared with students. You want to import all of those images you just created and set them as the background.

  • In PowerPoint the easy way to do this is, in a new PowerPoint file, choose Insert, Photo Album, New Photo Album. You can then use the Insert From File/Disk option to navigate to your stored pictures, select them all, and insert them. 
  • In Google Slides there is an add-on that makes this easier. Click on Add-ons, Get Add-ons, and search for Slides Toolbox.
    • Once it’s been installed click on Add-ons
    • Slides Toolbox
    • Open
    • Import Tools
    • Create slides from images
    • Check the Set as Page background box
    • Next
    • Upload
    • Select files from your device, then navigate to where you stored the files and select them all.

If you have a lot of slides this will take a couple of minutes, but it is still much faster than doing them one-by-one.

Now that you have all of your slides set up as images/backgrounds, it is time to start making the magic happen. The first thing we want to do is make it so students cannot advance slides by clicking anywhere. To do this we are going to link each slide to itself.‚Äč

  1. On the first slide use the shape tools to draw a rectangle that covers the entire slide.
  2. Copy that rectangle and move down through the slides, pasting the rectangle on each remaining slide.
  3. Go back to your first slide and click on the rectangle. Change the rectangle so it is transparent in color and has a transparent border. Then click the hyperlink button (looks like a linked chain) and choose the same slide (so if you are on slide 2, link to slide 2).
  4. Go down through the slides, clicking on each rectangle, making the rectangle clear with a clear border, and linking each slide to itself (slide 3 gets linked to slide 3, slide 4 links to slide 4…).

Now, if you put the presentation into present mode, you can click anywhere on the slides but they will not advance.

Making the slides advance is the next step:

  1. Back in edit mode, go to your first slide.
  2. Using the shape tool again, draw a shape (I always use rectangles, but any shape will do) over where you want students to click to “answer” the question. Be sure to make a separate shape for each answer possibility. 
  3. Make your shape clear with a clear border.
  4. Click on the hyperlink button again. This time you are going to hyperlink to the slide that tells students if they are correct or not. You can choose to have separate correct/incorrect slides, or have one slide that shows the correct answer and gives an explanation. Just be sure to link to the slide that has the feedback you want to give for that particular answer.
  5. You will need to repeat this process for each answer on each slide.
  6. Once you finish the question slides you will need to repeat the process to add a box to each feedback slide linking students to the next question.

A lot of work, I know, but it really is worth it. The good news is that once you finish creating all of your answer and next question buttons, you are done. Put your slides in present mode and try them out…pretty cool, huh? If you prefer video tutorials, here is a short one:

Happy task card creating, everyone! Next week I’ll show you how to create self-grading task cards in Sheets/Excel that can be used as an assessment, it’s my new favorite digital task card delivery method!

Digital Mystery Picture Activity

Who’s / Whose Mystery Picture: Sheets
Question Words Mystery Picture: Sheets
Syllables Mystery Picture: Sheets

My students love mystery pictures and I love them because they are so easy to grade. Ever since I started digitizing my games and activities I’ve wanted to create a digital mystery picture activity, but couldn’t figure out the best way to go about it. This past week I learned how and I want to share it with you. The secret is conditional formatting. I’ll give you the step-by-step process here, but if you prefer a video version there’s one below.

1. Create your picture in Google Sheets (or Excel if you prefer). Get it exactly how you want it to look once the students have correctly completed the activity.
2. Go over several rows from your picture and start typing your questions. In this case I had sentences that I wanted students to complete, but it could be anything from a math problem to a factual questions. You just need to have a defined answer that everyone will type the same. Place one question per row.
3. In front of your questions color the box where you want students to type their answer. Students must type the correct answer, in the correct box, for the picture to “magically” appear.
4. Now you’re ready to start conditionally formatting your picture. Go over to the picture and randomly select however many cells you want to tie to the first answer. Be sure all of the cells are the same color!
5. In order to help myself remember which cells I’d already done I first changed the selected cells to white.
6. Click on Format, Conditional Formatting.
7. Click “Add Another Rule”
8. In the Format rules box click the down triangle and choose “Custom formula is.”

9. In the box enter the formula: =$Y$3=”Who’s”  The Y is the letter of the column where the answer will be typed. The 3 is the number of the row where the answer will be typed. Inside the quotation marks is the text for the correct answer. If your answer is numerical it does not require quotation marks.
10. Choose the color you want the cells to turn.
11. Click done.
12. Repeat steps 4-11 for each of the questions you’ve created, being sure to conditionally format all of the cells in your picture.

You can test your work by going through and typing the answers in the boxes and watching the picture appear. When incorrect answers or typed, or correct answers are typed incorrectly, nothing will happen and the boxes will stay white (or whatever color you set them to be).

The first time I created a mystery picture I fell into the trap of recreating digitally what I had on paper. I made every cell correspond to an answer (80 questions for an 80 cell picture) and every answer correspond to a color (all of the “am” answers were blue). The great thing about digital is that you are freed from these restrictions. You can make every answer correspond to as many or as few cells as you choose (just remember they all have to be the same color). You can also make any answer be any color, even if it wasn’t that color previously (hence my activity has two possible answers but three different colors). The digital format opens up a lot of possibilities!

My students already enjoy mystery color pictures and I can’t wait to see their response to the digital version! Want my mystery picture activities? Use the picture links and buttons above!