Those of us of a “certain age” might remember the old commercial about Wednesday being Prince Spaghetti Day. Well, those days are long gone, but this year I’ll bring you Website Wednesday, a day to highlight useful online finds. This week, I bring you Wordle. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but it takes significantly fewer words to make a picture with Wordle.
What exactly is Wordle? It’s a word cloud picture of the most frequently used words in a selection of text that you copy and paste onto a web page. For example, I copied and pasted text from the Instructional Technology vision into Wordle, and adjusted a few options for the number of words used and the color theme. Here’s the word cloud showing the most commonly occurring words in the vision. The more frequently a word appears in the text, the bigger it is in the word cloud.
Click the picture to see it full size!
Wondering how you could REALLY use this in the classroom? Here are some ideas that might work, or might spark some ideas of your own.
- Have the students create an All About Me Wordle. Hint: Enter words multiple times to make them stand out larger.
- Create Wordles for math facts. Hint: Don’t leave spaces between numbers and math signs in the fact.
- Paste student writing into Wordle to see the most commonly used words, which might help them revise their writing. Hint: Select the setting to not show common words such as “and.”
- Have students take turns entering words they think describe the character traits of the character in a story they are reading.
Two important things to know about Wordle:
1. Anyone can enter any words they want into Wordle and save it on the Wordle gallery for public viewing. Therefore, if you use this with students, only use the page to enter the words, and do not allow them to browse the gallery. The gallery is worth a look for teachers though, some good examples of school uses are there.
2. You can’t save, so you have to take a screenshot to save the file, unless you want to print it. To take a screen shot hold down the shift key and the apple/command key, and press the number 4 key. A cross hair will appear on your screen. Draw a big box around what you want to keep. As soon as you lift up off the mouse button, the picture will be placed on your desktop, named Picture 1. If you make a mistake, just repeat the process. It will now be named Picture 2. You can insert the image into almost any application, including SmartNotebook.
So try it out at http://www.wordle.net, then leave a comment here telling how you might use Wordle with your students!