I hate to admit it, but I’ve only used word clouds with some of my students. I wasn’t really sure how to use word clouds when I first heard about them, so I only selected a few individuals that I thought would benefit from using it. Mostly to help them in their writing. You see, when the idea of word clouds was presented, I was only showed a website and was allowed about 3-5 minutes to “explore” it. The more I read, the more I found out how helpful they can be.
So what types of things can you do with word clouds? I know I won’t even begin to touch on everything, but here are a few ideas on how they can be used with your students.
1. When students have finished a piece of writing and they need to check for redundant words, put them on Wordle.net. The best part about Wordle is that it counts the number of times the words are used and makes the highest count the biggest in the cloud. That way, students see how many times they have used words like then, I, me, and so on. This is how I used them in my classroom, and it really makes the students aware of the overused words.
2. At the beginning of the year, allow students time to write an “About Me” paragraph and then type it into a word cloud creator such as Tagxedo. This is another word cloud site that easily downloads the image you create and has an assortment of shapes for your words.
4. Use a word cloud for vocabulary words. This can be used in any subject!
5. Use math vocabulary words in a word cloud and ask students to come up with a mathematical story using the words. Great way to combine some writing and math!
6. In Social Studies, create a word cloud using character traits of various leaders or important historical figures.
7. For a Mother’s or Father’s Day project (or anytime, really), allow students to make a word cloud as a gift. This could be with characteristics of the
person, a thank you letter, a poem…you name it!
8. Students could actually draw their own word clouds as an activity to “fill time” when they get finished early. They will probably end up doing this on their own, anyway. It’s sort of addicting.
9. Use Wordle to create a word cloud with units of measurement. I say use Wordle because you can decide how big or small you make the words. This way students would get an accurate picture of which units of measurement are bigger than others.
10. Use word clouds at the end of the lesson or day to see what the students remember. The teacher can either assign a certain amount of words, or the students can write as many important words as they can at the end of your time together. This could be a neat twist to exit tickets!
Now that I’ve written about all of this, I will have to do some of these before school starts. I’m excited to begin another new year! I will post some of my results!