Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Fast and Easy Crossword Generator - on

Here is the best free crossword generator tool I have found to date:

Here´s the breadcrumb: > printable worksheets > puzzle worksheets > crossword maker

And in plain English: Go to
and click on 'printable worksheets', then ' puzzle worksheets' and then ' crossword maker'.

What I like about it is that you can whip up crosswords in just a few minutes with this tool, and that they look nice and polished, like a professionally designed worksheet you spent hours preparing. This tool also automatically creates an answer key.

I also like that you don´t have to sign up for a user account with Teachers corner. You can just type, print, and go.

I recommend going directly to the 'crossword puzzle maker '. To do this, scroll or look far down the page, and look for this link:

This takes you to a new page. Scroll down the page to the form with blanks where you can enter your terms and clues.

The program takes care of organizing everything into an attractive crossword puzzle layout with clues divided between 'across' and 'down' in a printable worksheet for students (and a second puzzle of the same worksheet with all the answers filled in for teachers.)

I have not had luck using the ' save' options, which I found confusing to understand anyway. But you don´t have to ' save' to continue and generate a crossword puzzle on the fly.

After you enter your terms and clues, scoll down the page and look for the link to ' Make Crossword Puzzle' (you will find this at the very bottom of the page). Clicking this starts the process to generate your puzzle. Once generated, you can  print a copy using your browser options (or save as adigital pdf file if you have that option with your printer software). Once generated, the puzzle is ´forgotten' by the website and generating tool. It only ' lives' in your browser´s memory.

This means that you can´t go back another day in the future and re-print the same crossword puzzle, so make sure it´s perfect and prints out as you like before you quit your browser session ( don´t just save the file to print out later).

On my Mac, one of the options during the print process is to save the printout as a pdf file, which is handy for creating a master copy that I can re-print later on. But I noticed that some PCs and printers don´t offer this option, so you may just have a paper printout as your master copy to use later.

By the way, the answer key prints out on a new page automatically, even though it doesn´t look like there is a page break when you look in the print preview screen.

I have found that 18 or less terms using the choices in Georgia font, in the small or medium sized font, makes a nice, full page crossword puzzle. Anymore clues than that, or a larger font size, and you risk having the crossword spill over onto two pages. Of course, a lot depends on your printer, so do a test run and print out a copy BEFORE you close out of the sessionon or close down your browser, so you can go back and make changes and re-generate the puzzle as needed. This will save you from having to type in all the terms and clues again just to fix a typo or print layout issue.

Class Activity Ideas: 

This is really useful as a way to review vocabulary, and verb conjugations using gapfill sentence clues.

I like to do it as an in-class warm up activity when I know there will be a lot of late-comers to class, or as a fill- in activity to keep students busy when there is a quiz or test or writing activity that I know some students will zoom through while others take a long time to finish. Of course, it works as a fun way to do homework too!

I have used it successfully as a whole class activity, getting the students to come up and write the answers to each number across and down on the whiteboard, to give students who are poor at spelling another opportunity to practice. We corrected the mistakes using peer review. It was surprising how many spelling mistakes some students still made, despite knowing from the crossword puzzle layout how many letters each word had!

I hope you find this crossword generator as useful as I have!

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