While reading Barbara’s blog, I found this terrific tutorial for using Excel or OpenOffice to create a word search from scratch. By following Barbara’s directions (which were very simple and thorough) I managed to create my own word search quickly and easily. If you have a few minutes click on over to Plugged In HomeSchool and give her tutorial a try. Feel free to post your examples in the forum.
I usually use Puzzlemaker.com with my students for having them create their own review puzzles, but it was quite nice to take the time and carefully plan out how the words would be placed in the spreadsheet. The tutorial also includes editing the header and footer, something that students don’t always know how to do, but should get plenty of practice doing. That and I had to be extra careful with the spelling as one misspelled word could easily have ruined a couple of other words. The biggest benefit is probably getting students used to having an alternative way of creating words searches or other puzzles in case the Internet goes out, which can, does, and will happen if you’re using computers in the classroom.