Word Clouds as a 21st Century Learning Tool (and a Beginning of the Year Project Idea)


At the beginning of the year, I used to do a “recipe for a good school year” project, but I decided to change it up this year and do a word cloud version.  While perusing various word cloud sites, I came across Tagxedo and was mesmerized by all the different options it has for customizing your word cloud.  When I saw a key, I thought it would be cute for students to make a “key to a good school year” word cloud.  I'm hoping to get them up before Curriculum Night so I can have a tech project on display in my room.  Here is the example I made.
Generated using http://www.tagxedo.com/
Another beginning of the year idea I had was having students write adjectives to describe themselves and then customizing their word cloud with one of the many shapes available in Tagxedo.  This might be a fun icebreaker activity and could then be used as the cover for their portfolio binders.  Here is just a sampling of the many shapes Tagxedo has to offer. 
 While word clouds can make adorable projects for special occasions and holidays, they also serve as a valuable learning tool in a 21st Century classroom.  I’ve used word clouds during reading centers as a word work center.  Here is my word family example.
Generated using http://worditout.com/
Some other ideas I have for using word clouds in my classroom this year are:
-Adjectives to describe a famous person or a character in a book
-Practicing spelling and vocabulary words
-Demonstrating what students learned about a specific topic
-Analyzing famous speeches and historical documents (by copying and pasting the text to see which words were used most frequently)
-Self-evaluating student writing pieces
-Creating posters of synonyms for overused words, like the one below
Generated using http://www.abcya.com/word_clouds.htm
Here are my four favorite FREE word cloud generator sites that don’t require a login:


How have YOU used word clouds with your students?  I always love to hear your ideas. :) 


Update 7/22:
I linked this post with Jen's tech linkup. 
Teaching and Tech

10 comments:

  1. Around President's Day last year, I had the kids write a formula poem about Abe Lincoln (can't remember what kind) then type their poem into Tagxedo and shape it like ol' Abe's head. They turned out super cute!

    ✿Lynn
    Inside this Book

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    1. That's a cute idea. I saw Abe's head on there. :)

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  2. I LOVE word clouds! There is so much you can do with them! My second graders study community helpers so they read books online about a specific helper and then created word clouds with adjectives about their helper. Another fun one I did around Christmas time was give groups of students different holiday songs. They had to pick out the keywords and put them into a cloud. The other students then had to guess the song by the keywords! They loved it! Thanks for the great post!

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    1. I love the Christmas song idea! I'm sure you could do a guessing game with lots of other topics too. Thanks for the great ideas!

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  3. I love your idea to use Tagxedo with the key to learning concept! How fun!

    Kate
    EduKate and Inspire

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  4. I love the idea of your key word cloud! This would be a great activity to do the first week of school and have, like you said, before Back to School night.

    Thanks for sharing! Do you mind if I pin this one for future reference?

    Ashley
    http://inspiredreamandcreate.blogspot.com/

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  5. Kristin, I love your "key to a good school year" word cloud!! I'm going to pin that!

    Also, I love using technology in the classroom and am so glad to have you as a resource for technology ideas!!

    Alex

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  6. Hi Kristin!

    I just found your blog... love it! I would use tagxedo or wordle to help my students learn the difference between main idea/details, and to self-assess if their writing focused on what they want it to. The most frequent words being bigger definitely helps visual learners process that :)

    Thanks for sharing your ideas!
    Bailey

    mrssturdysclass.blogspot.com

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