how to make your own word search puzzle

Games with words are trending. Open any newspaper or magazine and chances are there will be at least one word search in there. They’re a tried and true crowd pleaser, and a great addition to your own magazine too!

Find a custom word search creator

Use an online word puzzle generator like this one on busyteacher.com, to create your own word search puzzle. There are many custom word search creators and makers available on the internet. Do a quick search on ‘custom word search’ and pick the one you like best!

how to make your own word search puzzle for your magazine busyteacher

Use a custom word search in Jilster

For use in Jilster, make sure you can save the word search you created as an image (png, jpeg/jpg) or PDF file to your computer. Once you’ve created your wordsearch, save the image file to your computer and then upload it to your images in Jilster. Then, add it to you page. Make sure the puzzle is legible by checking that it has at least two stars. Two stars or more means the image is high quality enough to be printed well.

busy teacher word puzzle for use in jilster magazine

Word search tips

If you’re working on a school magazine, you can use words related to your school. Make a list of school colors, themes, classes, subjects, clubs, sports and more. Are you working on a wedding or birthday magazine? Then you can use words related to the couple getting married or person whose birthday it is. Make a list of things they like, hobbies, words that describe them, names, favorite foods, countries visited and more.

A word search is a word puzzle wherein you try to find the words hidden among all the letters. Words can be found horizontally and vertically, but occasionally also diagonally. When it comes to a word search you make for your own magazine you can decide for yourself how words can be found.

how to format text in your magazine jilster

First impressions are important. We all know that. All it takes is two seconds for us to get an impression of someone, and based on that we make decisions on whether or not someone, or something, is worth our time. So, in order to make sure your story is heard, or in the case of a magazine, read, spending some time on the way it looks is important.

“Please do judge a magazine on it’s cover!”

The right way to format and layout magazine content

Take a look at the two examples below. Which of the two would you rather spend time reading? Why is that, do you think? The only difference is the format and layout of the different elements on the page. De text on the white background is much more legible because the contrast is greater and there is no background noise. It’s also easier to read because it has been divided into columns. The photo looks better too because it hasn’t been stretched out over the page and there is no text overlay.

By choosing a simple background for the text and using columns, you can improve the legibility of your content.

More ways you can improve your text legibility:

1. Use a simple font

A simple font, like Times New Roman, Garamond, or Georgia is great for legibility of the body text. Highlight your paragraph headlines by making these a different font, or by making them bold, cursive, or a different color.

2. Divide your story up into paragraphs with paragraph titles

Divide the text into paragraphs and enter some spaces in between the paragraphs. This makes the text easier on the eyes and looks better on the page. Make sure to avoid long winded sentences. If sentences are too complicated to understand or get through, the reader may give up.

3. Use font size to your advantage

Did you know the best font size for text in Jilster is 10? Keep this in mind if you want your content to look just like the content in a real magazine. Varying font sizes for titles, subtitles, paragraph titles, and quotes keeps the text interesting for readers.

4. Use text borders or other text elements

Isolating some text in a border or another elements gives you the option to highlight some key information from your text. It’s a great way to showcase, for example, facts and figures. The use of a border keeps your text clean and makes important information easy to spot. It’s also a great way to change things up on your page, which keeps the reader entertained and interested.

Don’t forget; less is more! It may sound cliche, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t true. Less really is more.

my best friends wedding magazine cindy

“What mainly drove us to do this, I think, no, I know, is the friendship and love we each feel for Cindy. Combine all that friendship and love and what you get is a big fat wedding magazine”. Wendy, Rian and Maaike, along with 17 other women, made a wedding magazine for their friend Cindy.

Everyone has a part to play

Wendy studied graphic design so she was in charge of the design. Rian was in charge of getting in touch with the other girls and managing their pages, and Maaike was in charge of interviewing Cindy’s husband-to-be and their kids.

They had each of Cindy’s friends as well as her fiance and kids answer the same questions on their respective pages in the magazine.

The questions:

  • How do you know Cindy?
  • Describe Cindy in one word
  • What kind of dress do you think Cindy will wear?
  • What celebrity wouldn’t Cindy mind spending a night with?
  • What’s the last thing you and Cindy did/talked about together?
  • Why are Cindy and Martijn such a good match?

The cover page

There was quite a bit of back and forth when it came to the cover page. There were a ton of ideas, but ultimately Wendy’s idea was chosen. She suggested using a photo of Cindy in her wedding dress. But how were they going to make that happen? It was before the wedding, and they couldn’t risk Cindy finding out about the magazine.

They made a plan to try and convince Cindy to wear Rian’s wedding dress during her bachelorette party and it worked! They got a few photos and used the best one as the cover page.

Making a magazine together

“Working in the editor went well. We used the chat option a fair amount to discuss the contents of the magazine and Rian mainly used templates to design the magazine. She then tweaked them a bit to make them unique.”

“We gave Cindy her (and a little bit her husband’s too) wedding gift on the day of the wedding. It was a really special moment that I don’t think I’ll ever forget. I got goosebumps!  Cindy was completely touched and pretty soon we were all holding back tears. So yes, I’m definitely making more of these magazines in the future.”

meet frank our programmer jilster make your own magazine

meet frank our programmer jilster make your own magazine

Frank is our programmer. He’s the one making sure the magazine editor does what you want it to, but right now, he’s got his hands full with the development of a new magazine editor. Join us as we find out what kind of person he is and what he thinks of his job here at Jilster.

“Hi Frank!”

Frank started working at Jilster in March 2017. Since then he has become an indispensable part of our team. His job mainly entails developing, maintaining, and updating the magazine editor (the parts where you’re viewing and editing your magazine pages). He also has a hand in the website and the account overview environments (when you’re logged in).

What’s your favorite part of your job?

Frank is proud of the work he does for Jilster: “People all over the world use Jilster. Making sure everyone can work on their magazines from anywhere in the world is a responsibility I like having and take pride in. That, and the continuous researching and testing out of new features for Jilster makes it very rewarding work to me”.

What kind of colleague are you?

“The office environment is relaxed and laid back. I’m known as the comic relief among my colleagues. I have a pretty dry sense of humor, but thankfully they can dig it. I really like my job. Not a day goes by when I don’t look forward to going into work.”

meet frank our programmer jilster make your own magazine

How to combine multiple subjects into one project magazine for school jilster

combine subjects into one school magazine project jilster

Combining multiple subjects into one project saves the students a lot of time. It is also a nice change from the way things are usually done. Instead of consolidating every subject to their own projects and exams, all of them are intertwined in a magazine. It gives students hands on experience for using knowledge and tools in real world scenarios.

Work together to reduce the workload for teachers and students

Enlist the help of your colleagues to create a project that combines different subjects into project. The magazine project can be graded for all the chosen subjects. This removes a great deal of the workload not only for students, but for teachers as well.

Teachers: Instead having to prepare various exams and project by yourself, you can work together with your colleagues to create one magazine project that can be handed in and graded for multiple subjects.

Students: Instead of having to prepare various projects and study for different exams, students can create one magazine that combines all of the knowledge and tools they need. Plus, it gives them a look at how these subjects interact, instead of keeping it all separate.

Create a Step-by-step Guide Book

Create a step-by-step guide book containing all the information the students will need to complete the project. The students will use it to complete exercises for each subject as well as learn to plan accordingly.

The Guide Book should contain but is not limited to:

  • Exercises per subject and/or topic
  • Schedule with weekly tasks
  • Timetable example
  • Instructions on how to use Jilster
  • Example pages made in Jilster

It is also useful to add a seperate guide with step-by-step instructions on how to use Jilster. Try the editor out first and then, based on your own experiences, write out the do’s and dont’s for students. You can also create some example pages and let the students copy these to their own magazine pages. Students may also take inspiration from magazines in stores or magazines they have at home. They can bring them into class and exchange ideas.

Assignment and Exercise ideas for a magazine project

One school that has already implemented the magazine project had the magazine graded on content for History, spelling and grammar for Dutch, and design and creativity for Art: One magazine to rule them all. Below are just a few ideas and inspiration for various assignments and exercises that students can complete for a magazine project.

  • Book report
  • Letter to publisher
  • Organizing an event with a speaker that can give a presentation on a specific topic
  • Attending a presentation on a specific topic organized by other students
  • See and review a movie on a specific topic
  • Visit and review a museum
  • Look up specific dishes and add a recipe
  • Create a themed magazine cover
  • Recreate a specific painting or photo

Make it fun

Make the project into a competition. The three best magazines can then be printed and displayed at the school and/or during a special event when the project is completed. Having a competitive element in the project improves student performance. The magazines can then also be used as promotional tools during Open Days when prospective students come in to visit the school.

Takeaways and tips before you get started

  • Combine multiple subjects to reduce workload: work together with colleagues
  • Create a step-by-step guide book for the project and add step-by-step instructions  on how to use Jilster
  • Add magazine appropriate exercises and assignments for each subject
  • Make it fun

Some general tips:

  • Take your time with this project. It will take longer than you think.
  • Arrange a meeting for your colleagues wherein you explain how Jilster works
  • Create a guide book for students, with a guide on how to use Jilster
  • When it’s time to grade the paper, you can do so using the custom link to the online version of the magazine
  • A magazine project can also be used for other subjects and topics

How to combine multiple subjects into one project magazine for school jilster

one magazine project for all class assignments school magazine jilster

one magazine project for all class assignments school magazine jilster

History, Dutch and Art subjects all in one magazine. Second year high school students at the Liberal-Christian Lyceum High school in the Hague, Netherlands, combined three subjects into one project. They created a magazine called ‘The Golden Age Project’. Their history teacher, Mirjam Zeilmaker, coordinated the project.

Combining Subjects reduces Workload for Students

Mirjam enlisted the help of her colleagues for this project, and she explains why: “This project enables students to hand in one magazine containing all the required works for History, Dutch and Art. We grade the magazine for all three subjects. The reason we chose to do it this way is because it saves the students a lot of time. They’re already swamped by so many exams over the course of the year, and this magazine project removes a great deal of the workload. Plus, it’s a nice change from the way things are usually done.”

Creating a magazine is a large project with a lot of small moving parts. To a 13 or 14 year old, the scale of this project may seem daunting, but Mirjam knew how to handle it: “You explain to students that we’re going to do it step-by-step and over the course of a few weeks, so we have time. As long as you keep up with the schedule and update your own schedule accordingly, it will all sort itself out. The result is your own Golden Age Magazine.”

Create and Use a Step-by-step Guide Book

The students created the magazine over the course of 6 weeks. Mirjam created a step-by-step guide book containing all the information the students would need to complete their magazine. So not only are the students completing exercises pertaining to each subject, they are also learning how to plan accordingly.

The Guide Book contains:

  • History, Dutch, and Art exercises
  • Schedule with weekly tasks
  • Timetable example
  • Instructions on how to use Jilster

Mirjam also added a guide with step-by-step instructions on how to use Jilster. She tried the editor out herself first: “Doing this allowed me to write out clear instructions on what to do and what not to do for my students. I tried to get their creative juices flowing by showing them a few example pages I had made myself, and telling them to check out some magazines at home, in stores, and to bring magazines into class.”

The Project in Action

The magazine was graded on content for History, spelling and grammar for Dutch, and design and creativity for Art.

For Dutch class, the students had to read a book from a book list and write a book report. They also wrote a letter, consisting of at least 300 words, to the book publisher. Students were allowed to read the chosen book during the first ten minutes of every History and Dutch class leading up to the assignment deadline.

Dutch class magazine project assignments

  • Book report
  • Letter to publisher

For History they created a project that combined historical events with people in present day Netherlands. Michiel Adriaenszoon de Ruyter was a Dutch admiral. He was one of the most skilled admirals in history, most famous for his role in the Anglo-Dutch Wars of the 17th century. His descendant Frits de Ruyter, currently lives in The Hague, so the school simply got him to visit for a day. He gave the students a presentation about his forefather and his family history.

A few of the students were tasked with organizing this event themselves. A few other History assignments included seeing a historical movie, visiting a museum, writing a review about both, and adding a recipe for a dish from the Golden Age.

History class magazine project assignments

  • Organizing an event with a speaker that can give a presentation on historical events
  • Attending a presentation on a famous historical figure
  • See and review a historical movie
  • Visit and review a museum
  • Look up historical dishes and add a recipe

A magazine project wouldn’t be complete without creativity and design elements. The students got to work on the magazine cover during Art class. Another assignment for Art was to recreate a historical painting using themselves, classmates, family and/or friends.

Art class magazine project assignments

  • Create a magazine cover
  • Recreate a historical painting or photo

What are students saying?

When asked about the project, students Juliette and Liam excitedly tell us about their experiences. “We mostly use books at school, not computers. This magazine project has allowed us to use computers as well. It has taught us so much more than the books by themselves, like working with different computer files, for example.”

Juliette has especially enjoyed using the templates. “The templates are really helpful. Using these in your magazine gives you a good base to start with. Templates make it easy to create a recurring theme too. I also really liked that we were able to work on the magazine at home. Jilster was fun to work with, not like regular homework.”

Finding their way on a Computer instead of their Phones

Jilster allows you to experiment with different elements on a page. You can decide right away to keep what you’ve created or edit it. If you don’t like the way something looks you can easily try something different. Mirjam witnessed this happening first hand when her students started working on their magazines. “The search was on to find the right file types, images, and backgrounds to get the ‘look’ they wanted in their own magazines. At times it seemed like a text box would disappear under some layers. This was frustrating, but having to manage all the elements on a page was good practice for the students.

“They don’t have much experience working with computers. They’re more at home on their smartphones. They’re so used to things coming to them easily, that having to figure things out themselves is a good challenge.”

What’s next for the magazine project

Next year they’ll be making a magazine again. “After the students completed their assignments for the three subjects, they added them to their magazine. The complete package was downloaded as a PDF file. This PDF file is what they handed in. Or they handed in a printed version of their magazine. We weren’t able to order all the magazines in print. Next year however, we want to have the three best magazines printed.”

“We’ve noticed that having a competitive element in the project improves their performance. Plus, the printed magazines are a great promotional tool for open day events, when prospective students visit our school. Also, they serve as good examples for future students that are going to work on their own project. A printed magazine gives them a good idea of what to expect for their own magazine.”

“End of year projects would be great to see in magazine format as well. Especially for students that want to do their end of year projects on fashion.”

Some tips before you get started

“Education is a breeding ground for wonderful new ideas. We want to share these ideas as much as possible so that other teachers can be made aware of the magazine project.”

  • Take your time with this project. It will take longer than you think.
  • Arrange a meeting for your colleagues wherein you explain how Jilster works
  • Create a guide book for students, with a guide on how to use Jilster
  • When it’s time to grade the paper, you can do so using the custom link to the online version of the magazine
  • A magazine project can also be used for other subjects and topics