Using Word Clouds in the Classroom
Word clouds are a fun way to display student learning. A few weeks ago, I created a word cloud using Wordle that summed up my students learning in Ancient Egypt.
There are two popular words cloud generators - Wordle and Tagxedo. Wordle creates word clouds in no defined shape. Tagxedo allows you to shape the word clouds into one of the shapes they have available, including an apple, airplane, or heart.
Here are some samples and ideas of how you can use them in your classroom.
All about Me Word Cloud
This is a fun activity at the beginning of the year or anytime!
1) First have students type their name at least 15 times (so it will be the largest)
2) Then have them type in things that describe them. Favourite colour, favourite foods, hobbies, interests etc. Again those things most important to them should be typed more than once and then they will be bigger.
3) Print them off and display them. They look cool in black and white too!
4) If you blog with your class have them embed it in their blog!
One 'book-keeping' note. It may be easier for them to type into a Word docucument first. Then, have them cut and paste their work into Wordle or Tagxedo. That way they can spell-check and ensure they have included everything they thought of.
Other Classroom uses for Word Cloud Generators:
Here is a Tagxedo of my last blog post about the website If It Were My Home. This Tagxedo is embedded as a weblink,; therefore it is interactive. The only downside of Tagxedo is that if you do not have Microsoft Silverlight, you will not be able to view the interactive embedded version. However, you can save images and then use them. See my next example below.
Below is a Tagxedo of my next newsletter contribution. This image is saved and can be used in a variety of ways.
Finally, here is an embedded wordle. You can click on it and it will take your to the wordle website. Wordles become publically accessible if you do not choose to make them private. Therefore, if students make them about themselves, ensure that they are private! This Wordle is of the hand-out from my blogging workshop.
Happy Word Cloud Generating!
N. Keyworth, Grade 7 Teacher, Treasurer for PITA
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