I thought I'd share my most current uses of Wordle.

First - Teacher Planning: I was just assigned a student teacher. To help her comprehend the "big ideas" of our state core, we pasted the sections of the core she will teach into Wordle. When the Wordle was created, the maximum number of words was lowered to 35 from the "Layout menu." This helped her see the main ideas she should spend the most time on during her teaching time in my classroom.

Second - Student Formative Assessment: To determine what my new seventh grade students comprehended about science I asked them to create a list (on paper) of what they thought of when they heard the word "Science." Students were given about four minutes to brainstorm individually. Students then got into groups of two or three. They used the computers to go to Wordle and enter all the words on each person's list. They were reminded if more than one person used the same word (for example if two of three students in a group had the word "frog" on their paper) the word was to be entered in multiple times in Wordle. Students then created and printed out their Wordle to share with the class. I quickly could see what words were common because they were large on each Wordle. (By the way I learned most of my students lack a basic understanding of Science from this activity !)

Third - Student Note Check: Biology students watched a video on "Genetically Modified Foods." During the video, I asked them to write up each word they heard that was related to the concept of "Genetically Modified Foods." They were also informed that if a word was used more than once a "tally mark" should be used to indicate how many times the word was used. Students got into groups of two or three. Using Wordle, these students then entered their combined lists online (we reviewed the basics of copy and paste as some words were used WAY too many times to key them in!) Students were SHOCKED when their Wordle did not have as many words as had been manually entered. Each class had at least one student who identified that words that were used more became much larger in the Wordle. Students then had a smaller list of terms they should understand and be able to use relating to the concept.

Fourth - Helping a Language Arts Teacher: My friend recently had his students write an essay. When the essay was complete, students pasted it into Wordle. As students reviewed their Wordle, they recognized some words were larger than others. My friend used this to help them understand that words used more often are larger than words used less often. He challenged students to look at the words that were largest and decide if these had significant meaning. Several students approached him later and said they did not know how often they used some words in the essay. Their writing dramatically improved as they explored ways to develop language skills through Wordle.

I'm interested in hearing your ideas on how students can use Wordle in ways that motivate and engage them.

Views: 665

Comment by Paul Bogush on January 14, 2010 at 6:11pm
My students took a poll "What does the American Flag mean to you?" They took all the responses and put them into a wordle by generation and then all answers together. It was a neat, quick, visual analysis of what people most strongly felt about when they think of the flag.
Comment by Glen Westbroek on January 14, 2010 at 6:17pm
Paul that's a great way to use Wordle. Thanks for sharing it!
Comment by Gary McFarlane on January 14, 2010 at 6:30pm
Thanks for the suggestions. I work with student teachers as a university classroom facilitator during their classroom inservice and these ideas may be very useful to pass on. I am sure they will think of others.
Comment by Kelly Hines on January 14, 2010 at 6:38pm
I love your suggestions, Glen. Wordle really is a great tool for deductive reasoning. I have used it to bring in newspaper articles from historic events and let the students try to figure out the event based on the key words (like the Lincoln Assassination or the Stock Market Crash). You can do some great things with current events, too. Wouldn't it be an interesting way to try and identify bias as well? Hmmmm... You certainly do a great job of getting the mind rolling for new ideas. I especially appreciate how you take a "fun site" and show others how to make it meaningful and relevant to all levels of the curriculum. :)
Comment by Cathryn on January 14, 2010 at 6:46pm
Glen, these are great ideas! I am a computer specialist for K-5 grade students and they absolutely love wordle. With my first graders, we used Wordle to create Word Family clouds. It was a huge success! My older students are using it to summarize their learning and to look at what words they use too often in their writing - it makes revising actually fun! Your ideas definitely extend one's thinking and I'll definitely be using them soon!
Comment by Alexander (Sandy) McDonald on January 14, 2010 at 6:49pm
These are great strategies for using Wordle, thanks for sharing them. Here are a few I've used and/or seen:

1. Two years ago I was the first principal of a new K-9 school. We had no time as a staff, and did not know our students/parents, before the school opened, so we opened without mission, vision, values, or goals statements. We had a variety of meetings to learn what each group valued, and at the end of each meeting I collected 3 summary statements from the participants to describe their dream school. I took these statements and entered them into Wordle and created a visual representation of our school values and vision. I printed them in color, laminated them, and they went up in each classroom.

2. We've used it with student writing as well, having students put their work in to find patterns with their word use.

3. I helped an LA teacher put passages from Shakespeare into wordle to identify the most common words, so he may go over them with the kids prior to doing an exercise with his class.

4. I recently had a friend import her resume into wordle. That was a pretty cool idea.

5. I took our student discipline policy and imported it into wordle. The most common words (respect, appropriate, etc.) showed up larger and made a nice display for classrooms.

That is what I can remember right now. If I think of any others, I'll post them up. I'm looking forward to reading what everyone else shares!

Comment by Courtney Rodgers on January 14, 2010 at 7:37pm
An idea from another teacher in my district mentioned using Wordle when starting a research project/paper. After an initial search for the topic, copy and paste the information (from Wikipedia, for example) into Wordle. The words that are larger will be big ideas to use as key words in further searches.
Comment by Glen Westbroek on January 14, 2010 at 10:11pm
I appreciate all the great suggestions that have been added to my original post. As I tell my students "Together we can accomplish more than any of us alone!" My PLN has shown it here. I'm going to share this post and these additional ideas with the teachers at my school tomorrow. (Ready or not here I go!)
Comment by Bev DeVore-Wedding on January 15, 2010 at 5:26am
I finally tried out Wordle this week; shared it with a student having difficult personal issues; he used it to vent--no profanity; by the time he left for the day he was smiling so my first use with a student was therapy!

I too will use this as assessment and just another exposure to the vocabulary of science and math.
Comment by Glen Westbroek on January 15, 2010 at 6:30am
I had not considered using Wordle for therapy - I'm glad it worked well for you.


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