Wordle (http://www.wordle.net/) is a fabulous tool for the classroom. It’s a word-cloud maker, and its usefulness is as limited as your imagination.
Wordle generated from an excerpt of the article “What Defines a Good School?” from EdWeek (http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2016/03/30/what-defines-a-good-school.html)
Below are a few ideas for using Wordle in class. A Google search will yield hundreds (literally) of suggestions. If you combine the name of a subject with the word “Wordle” (i.e. Wordle for science) you’ll find suggestions for specific activities, and even lesson plans.
Vocabulary / Language
- Make a chart to help remember new vocabulary (in a first or second language).
- Use a Wordle to pre-teach new vocabulary.
- Make a white-on-black Wordle and ask children to color the words (according to part of speech, vocabulary category etc.)
- Make a Wordle containing all of the words in a sentence and ask the children to read the sentence aloud in the correct order.
- Make posters for a Word Wall with the keyword in large type (repeat it several times when creating the Wordle so it is large when the results are given). Add synonyms, antonyms, etc that you’ve brainstormed with the students.
- Brainstorm terms related to a subject, make a Wordle, and use the terms to write stories. Students can even write from each others’ Wordles.
- Paste a poem or song into a Wordle. Then ask the students to create their own poem or song using the vocabulary on the word cloud.
- Guess the text: paste excerpts from copyright-free texts or stories that have been learned in class into Wordle and ask the students to guess the title.
- Compare and contrast texts or synopses (plays, opera…)
- Copy and paste Wikipedia articles into Wordles. Compare, contrast, guess…
- Find key ideas: Paste a text or speech into Wordle and see which terms “pop”.
- Compare character descriptions in a story or play.
- Paste a text related to a subject you’re studying into a Wordle. Use the word cloud to generate discussions or debates.
Intra- and inter-personal activities
- Do a self-esteem booster: Make one sheet of paper for each student. Pass the papers around and ask the students to write one positive thing about each of the other students on their paper. (They can use terms others have already used.) Collect the papers, and make a Wordle for each child.
- Ask students to list 10 words that describe themselves. Collect all of the words and make a class Wordle.
- Show the results of a poll: Ask the students to name their favorite animal. As each student answers, type the word into the Wordle and then click “go” to see which animals are the most popular.
Assessment and review
- Analyze (and compare) writing assignments for key ideas and vocabulary frequency.
- Make a Wordle to show what the class has learned that week. Ask the students for ideas, type them in and let them watch as the Wordle is created.