I'm trying out a lesson with my students this week. We just finished reading "The Taxpayer" (from The Martian Chronicles) and we discussed the theme of being left behind. I had the students get into groups of 2 or 3 and each group was given the following multi-step assignment:

1. Make a web/graphic organizer with brainstorming related to the theme.
2. On the computer, write an 80-100 word piece (fiction or nonfiction) utilizing the theme. Save the document.
3. Use Wordle to create a word cloud from your piece. Save a screenshot.
4. Pull out the high-frequency words and search the Creative Commons photos on flickr using those words. Create a photo collage. Save.
5. The groups are turning the project in electronically.


1.I only had 9 computers available this week (4 desktops and 5 borrowed laptops), which is why they're in groups of three. Pairs would've been better, but I didn't have the resources.
2. If we print any of the final products, it will be in black and white.


1. Get the students accustomed to composing on the computer rather than drafting by hand first.
2. Have the students see the writing as a step in creating a visual product.
3. Experiment with different ways of exploring a theme from a literary work.


I'm running a GT lesson using the same procedure but with different content simultaneously (to make my life easier and to see what the differences are). Those students are studying a bit of philosophy. Specifically, they are looking at questions about how we perceive reality. Each group was given a question from the book Philosophy for Kids, some supporting materials to read, and some URLs. I asked them to prepare a presentation (using a written piece, a Wordle piece, and images) on their question and related issues.

Today is Day 2 of this lesson. I'm hoping that the students doing the theme-based project will finish today so that I have some time over the weekend to look at their projects and see how it went.

Views: 188

Tags: Wordle, writing

Comment by Stacy Nockowitz on January 22, 2010 at 6:35am
I have been thinking about ways to use Wordle in my classroom, and your project sounds great! Thanks for sharing. Will you post some student work?
Comment by Jennifer Hall on January 22, 2010 at 12:45pm
Definitely. We're finishing up today, so I'll pull some examples this weekend. Thanks!
Comment by Sean Junkins on January 22, 2010 at 1:50pm
it might even be cool to have them create Glogster pages for their respective topics. Then the issue of not having a color printer is no longer an issue. Glogster creates basically what I liken to a "virtual" interactive poster. Cool idea though, Wordle really does have so much potential!
Comment by Jennifer Hall on January 22, 2010 at 4:11pm
Thanks! I'm planning on doing a lesson using Glogster this quarter. I'm in the planning stages and I'm really excited about using it. The students liked Wordle, so I'm sure they'll love Glogster.
Comment by Jonathan Wylie on January 22, 2010 at 5:31pm
Sounds like a great idea. Well done. I also have similar hardware constraints to you in my school. 1:1 would be nice, eh?

Here is a link to an article I wrote that you may like. It is the Top 10 Ways to Use Wordle in the Classroom. I also did a Teacher's Guide to Glogster for anyone interested in that.
Comment by Jennifer Hall on January 22, 2010 at 5:38pm
Thanks for both of those links! I'm planning a Glogster project right now and would love to use Wordle more so it's great to have more ideas. I'm a newbie with both of these tools.

I know I'm lucky compared to some teachers when it comes to access to technology, but 1:1 would be ideal. I think the constraints prevent a lot of my colleagues from even trying to use technology. It isn't optimal to have 3 students on one computer, but it's better than not trying at all.


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