For both educators and parents, it can be difficult to come up with interesting activities to do with kids to keep them interested in learning the subject matter at hand. That is why using tools like Find that Word
to make a word search puzzle for students can be a very effective way to keep things interesting for students.
Find That Word is a free word search puzzle maker that lets you easily and quickly incorporate vocabulary words or terms that you want students to learn, into a professionally made word search puzzle.
This means that you don't have to waste time trying to hide words inside a jumbled square of letters by hand anymore, this program will do all of the work for you. All you need are the words and the hints that you want to provide the students to help them guess the answer.
Starting a Word Search Puzzle
To get started, all you have to do is come up with a title for your puzzle, and write up a description (called a narrative) that will show up above your puzzle and explain to students what it is all about.
When you first get started, the puzzle in the display pane to the right will be very small, but as you start adding words it will automatically recalculate its required size accordingly.
Building a Customized Word Search Puzzle
All you have to do is type each word into the "Word" field, fill out a clue for the word in the "Clue" field, and then click on the "Add" button. The word will automatically get filled into the puzzle, and you'll see the size of the word puzzle grow if necessary.
You'll also see your accumulated word list show up in the "Word List" display at the bottom of the window. Also, keep in mind that under the puzzle display pane, there are four checkboxes that let you add or remove elements of the puzzle. The important one is the "Solution", which you'll want to remove when you print out the student version of the puzzle, so that the answers aren't highlighted in red.
Saving Your Custom Word Search Puzzle
As you're building your puzzles, don't forget to save often. The last thing you want to do is lose your work. The puzzles that you save are stored with a special file extension that is unique to Find That Word and can only be opened by the software.
Size Your Word Puzzle
A nice feature of the tool is that after you make your own word search puzzle, you can then resize it to whatever size and shape that you like. This can really come in handy when you want to make odd-shaped puzzles that are either very wide or very thin. To make the puzzle especially difficult, you can make it much larger than normal.
Fill Out the Puzzle Yourself
Another nice feature is that you don't have to let the tool automatically fill in erroneous letters into the puzzle. You can click on "Hidden message" and then type the text that you want to go into the blank squares that don't hold the solutions. This feature lets you hide your own hidden messages into the puzzle that students could discover for bonus points.
Exporting Your Word Search Puzzle
Of course, when you're finished you will want to print out the puzzle to hand out to your students, and you'll also want to print out a solution copy for yourself. To print out your own copy, keep the "Solution" box checked off, and then click on the "Export" button in the menu. On the next "Export WordSearch" screen that opens, click the dropdown list for file type and you'll see that you can export the puzzle to a PDF file, a PNG or SVG image, or even to a text file.
Exporting Your Word Search Puzzle
The PDF or image versions that this utility produces really look professionally done. The font and layout is high quality, and when you print it out, no one will realize that you actually created the word puzzle from scratch on your own.
The great thing about this tool - beside the fact that it's free - is that it allows you to build word search puzzles that are tailored to your curriculum, and they are at a difficulty level that you define, rather than using something that someone else has defined.
It's a good tool that will serve you not only in one subject or during a single school year, but instead it'll allow you to build a word search puzzle whenever you need it and for any purpose.
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