Sunday, April 3, 2016

Making Your Own Crossword Puzzles

It's the beginning of Spring and it's time to add something new to keep students engaged and trying new things. They've done a lot of games with movement, trivia, and visual analysis to build knowledge, so I wanted something new yet familiar. Then it came to me. I searched for history crossword puzzles.

crossword puzzle generator

Sure enough, there are several sites that specialized in crossword puzzles. I found one that I liked. It had a huge selection of ready-made history crosswords and a crossword and word search generator. I had to try it.

Here's what I did.

1. Add words and hints.

I took words from a Quizlet deck and listed them in the left column. Then, I found a short piece from Quizlet that served as a good hint, which was pasted into the right column.



2. Generate the puzzle.

One click and the puzzle is generated. This list of words didn't turn out to be the best combination, so next time I'll consider the puzzleness. (That's not a word, but you get the idea, right?)


3. Check the answers.

The check answers button is another time saver. I saved a PDF of this for my records when I PDFed the puzzle.


4. Save the puzzle to PDF.

I like to make PDFs whenever I can so that all of my lesson materials can be stored digitally in one place. Sure, hard copies are a must for an activity like a crossword (although there are ways to do it paperless, like with Google Sheets).

Right click (or your device's equivalent) and select print. You'll only get the puzzle, not the rest of the site, which is always helpful when developers set it up that way.


5. Store your puzzle in Drive (or somewhere reasonable).

Like I said, my puzzles are stored in Drive. If a teacher walked by my room and liked what he saw, I could share it immediately with the app on my phone. It literally takes 10 seconds to keep those kinds of promises. 


This is all me working on the struggle – the never-ending journey that takes me away from the usual and leaves my students, occasionally, with a lesson that may stick long enough to be useful.