Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Word Clouds

Word Clouds are a beautiful way to engage students with vocabulary or themes within content.  Many people are already familiar with Wordle but I was frustrated that the site didn't allow me to manipulate the image into a relevant shape.  

Enter Tagul and Tagxedo.  Tagul even talks to Google so that is nice if you're a Chromebook user.

The I created this Word Cloud in a few minutes using our FHS logo on the website Tagxedo.

Here is one that uses President Obama's inauguration speech to create his campaign image.  

To see some other examples of Word Clouds - check out their gallery.

This gave me the idea of how to use word clouds in the classroom and the corresponding Common Core Standards.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.2 Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas.
  1. After reading an informational text, create a GIST summary of the text (this site explains GIST if you have never used it before).  Use the 20-word GIST to create the word cloud. 
  2. Review direct and indirect characterization with students.  Use a mnemonic like STEAL  to ask students to review the text for examples of indirect characterization.  Use their findings to create word clouds for characters in a novel or historical figure.  
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.4 Interpret words and phrases as they are used in a text, including determining technical, connotative, and figurative meanings, and analyze how specific word choices shape meaning or tone.
  1. Use the Frayer Model to identify essential characteristics OR examples of a vocabulary term to create a word cloud.  This could be used in any subject area with almost any key term.
  2. Use the theme or main idea of a story as the figure image.  This would be a .jpg or .png file of a word.  The word cloud would be made up of phrases that piece together the text's meaning/tone.  Here is one I created for To Kill a Mockingbird.  

Analyze various accounts of a subject told in different mediums (e.g., a person's life story in both print and multimedia), determining which details are emphasized in each account.
  1. Use the CIA World Factbook to highlight specific features of a specific country.  Compare the word cloud to an informational text.
  2. Compare two sides of an argument to see which side uses specific words more frequently.  
Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and to interact and collaborate with others.
  1. Any application works!
Any other suggestions?  Add them below!!