This morning one of the special ed para-pros came in to ask me about a website they could use to create word searches. She was hoping to find a way to create a word search using one of the student’s spelling words for the week. I’ve always been one to try and make reviewing vocabulary and spelling words a bit more interesting that simply memorizing from a list, so I pulled up Puzzlemaker for her, which I’ve written about before. I showed her the Word Search creator on the site, and demonstrated how easy it was to setup a word search, enter words, and then create your own using the “whiz-bang magic” of the Internet. She was excited, and rushed off to her room to try it, only to come back with a problem.
The website was taking all of the tiny little two-letter words she had tried to use and tossed them out, as if they were misspelled or errors. Much to my dismay, I found no way around it, so with much frustration and disappointment she left (I had a class that was arriving) with absolutely no solution. Which if course got me all worked up because I wasn’t able to help her after initially getting her so excited. I spent most of my tiny moments today in between classes, during warm-up typing time, and my lunch period trying to find some online word search sites that would make up for it. Turns out, there are a heck of a lot of them out there, so I thought I’d list a few of them here in case anyone else was interested in using them with their students. They make TERRIFIC anchor activities throughout the week as students complete assignments and need something to work on. You could even work in the online word search creators as a regular means of review for vocabulary in a number of different subject areas (for you secondary teachers out there). You can just use the sites for yourself, and not bother letting your kids create, but I quickly learned last year that my sixth graders became addicted to creating their own personalized puzzles and word searches when it came to vocabulary review, and would often ask me if they could create some even if I hadn’t planned on using them.
As always, these are just a tiny fraction of the amount of tools available out there. Feel free to share yours if you like.
Puzzlemaker Word Search
Simple, quick, but still has enough tools to let you change the difficulty and the output (HTML for printing, Text for copying and pasting into a worksheet, and letter sharing options). This was my mainstay last year, and proved to be a decent choice with a limitless amount of words you can enter. Also allows for changing the size of the grid.
Teach-nology Word Search
Highly limited in number of words to input (only allowed for 20 words), and only one type of output, so so copying and pasting into another document. Best for elementary students since options are nill and straight forward setup.
SuperKids Word Search Puzzle Creator
Enter as many words as you like, with options to change the height and width of the grid. Also a little “no backward words” check box for easier searches. Simple input.
Armored Penguin Word Search
One of the most customizable I’ve ever seen. Settings include word color, background color, size of font for the puzzle and the word list, grid lines (a huge bonus), and a nifty check box for turning the vowels into dots (fun for harder puzzles). Also allows uploading of text files with words already typed up, this one does it all. Best for secondary students as too many options could easily confuse elementary students.