Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Wordle for All!

Wordle is one of those cool applications that is so simple that at first glance you might not think it has much use in your classroom beyond making something interesting looking. I'll admit that it's a tool I've kept on the back burner since last year, only using it a few times. Every time I get into it and toy with it I wish I was spending more time with it in class - it has so many possibilities! It's definitely one of the simplest, yet most versatile tools available on the web right now.

Here is a Wordle I made by pasting in the Lewis Carroll poem "Jabberwocky".

What is Wordle? Wordle is simply a word "cloud" tool - you copy text into it and it arranges the words into a cloud - usually prioritizing by frequency of text if applicable. It then creates a beautiful word cloud that is visually interesting - and telling - depending on what you are looking for!

I've used Wordle several times in my French class, and find it to be a nice tool for working with new vocabulary.

Last year when I was teaching 3rd grade I used to put my spelling lists on a Wordle each week and print out several copies. I'd hang them around the room for the kids to find - they enjoyed seeing their word lists in this interesting display, and used it as a kind of puzzle to find their words.

Here is an example of a Wordle I made with a 3rd grade weekly vocabulary list.

So, there have been a lot of other ideas I'd like to try with Wordle, and as I write this post I've got a few new things churning around in my brain!

Using Wordle: One thing I do know for a fact is that Wordle couldn't be easier to use. At the Wordle home page, hit "create". Then you just type or paste in your text into the box and hit "go". It gives a pretty immediate result - and if it's not quite what you're looking for, or you just want to play around a little, just keep hitting the "randomize" button at the bottom to get different styles of "clouds". Or you can edit it yourself for font, layout, and color.

Tons of Wordle Ideas for K-12: What I'm going to give you now is a couple of links, each with a bonanza of great ideas other educators have put together for Wordle. Hope you find something you can use - quite a few of these are very appealing to me! These resources will give any k-12 teacher an idea for using Wordle in their classroom!

Forty-Three Interesting Ways to Use Wordle in the Classroom

Wordle Ideas

Looking for some quick and easy projects before Christmas? Wordle makes fantastic Christmas cards! Have your students write a holiday poem, jot down their favorite holiday memory, or just make a list of everything they associate with the season - paste them in to Wordle and ...ta da! - festive card or decoration!

Can you guess what famous Christmas poem I've "Wordled" here?