Teacher Tech blog with Alice Keeler

Paperless Is Not a Pedagogy

Alice Keeler

Something Fun for the End of the Year

What is something fun for students to do at the end of the year? While there are many choices, a fun word search can give students something to do while other students are finishing a task. Try my template!
Something Fun for the End of the Year
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I have been asked by several teachers, what is something fun they can do for the end of the year? While there are lots of good choices, I have made updates to my Word Search Add-on. These are intended to be just for fun as something to do when students have finished all of their work. I have made some improvements to the code to make it work a little better.

Word search created by Alice Keeler for teacher school

More Word Searches

When students finish their work or on a rainy day a word search can be something students enjoy doing as a break from their assignments. While I am working on creating some DOK 2 level assignments available across grade levels I also want to have some items to answer the question “What fun things can we do at the end of the year?”

Have a Word List?

Create your own word search using alicekeeler.com/wordsearch or I might make one for you! Email me your list of words.

Start by making a copy of the template alicekeeler.com/wordsearch

Up to 25 Words

You can have up to 25 words in your word search. Paste or type your words into column B on the word list sheet.

Use the Menu

Notice next to the help menu is a custom menu called “Make Word Search.” You will want to authorize the Add-on. Since you made a copy of the spreadsheet you are the owner of the sheet and the only person who can access your files is YOU. It is safe to approve the permissions.

Make Word Search menu in Google Sheets. Authorize, create puzzle, test for errors, update puzzle, view puzzle and print puzzle

Create Puzzle

I have updated some ways the puzzle is created to make it easier to place the words. Select “Create Puzzle” in the menu and sit back as it tries to automatically place the words. It chooses a random spot in the grid to place the words so if there is not room for the word it will populate a list of words that did not make the puzzle.

Test for Errors

After creating the puzzle if you do not think it placed enough words you can use “Create Puzzle” again to wipe out the puzzle and start over. If you are satisfied with the initial draft choose “Test for Errors” in the menu. This will attempt to place the words that could not be placed previously. This is a new feature. It again is looking for random locations so the randomly chosen spot may or may not have room. Keep running Test for Errors as many times as you wish.

Try “Test for Errors” multiple times.

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Manually Enter Words

After I have run “Test for Errors” a few times I just put the words onto the puzzle myself. This allows me to make some of the words cross at a common letter or to go diagonal if I choose. Use the caps lock key as you place the letters.

Choose “Update Puzzle” to send the new letters you adjusted to the puzzle sheet.

Choose “Print Puzzle” from the menu to create a printer friendly version. Control P will let you print. Be sure to change to portrait instead of the default landscape paper size.

You can also copy and paste the puzzle into a Google Doc to allow you to create headers and a place for the student’s name.

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