There are many fun ways to get to know your students better using technology, and integrating word clouds in the classroom is a great way to start.
One of the best ways to get to know your students is to do it on their level, using technology. I've been using word clouds since I first came to the EdTech scene years ago yet, every time I'm presenting on technology, there is always at least one teacher who doesn't know what a word cloud is. Word clouds are so simple to create and fun to use – they really are a “must have” for every classroom these days. And there's really not an easier way to use technology in getting to know your students just a little better.
A word cloud is an image composed of words of various sizes. The cloud is created by a body of text, and the size of the word indicates how prevalent the word is (the larger the word, the more prevalent it is).
Here is an example of an image that includes a word cloud in the shape of a world map:
How can you use word clouds in the classroom? You can create word clouds and use them for many things, such as:
- Inspirational classroom posters. Choose words that describe your classroom experience and integrate them into a word cloud.
- End of year gifts for students. Have each student pick a positive adjective for every student in the class. Put together the word clouds and present each student with their own word cloud.
- Debate analysis. Paste the text from a speech into the word cloud generator. You'll instantly see which words and concepts are most prevalent, and can compare them with the word cloud made from the opponents speech.
- Lesson overviews. Create a cloud with the text from your lesson plan or class reading assignment. Present the cloud to the class when introducing the new topic, and ask them what they think the unit will focus on.
- Student project covers. Have students create their own word clouds as covers or introduction for their own projects.
So how can you create your own word cloud art? It's simple! There are a few word cloud generators out there, but our favorite one to use is called Wordle. It's simple to use, creates beautiful word art, and it's free. Learn how to create your first cloud in just 3 minutes by watching this video tutorial by SimpleK12 trainer Kim Munoz.
Kim Munoz is an Instructional Technologist for Franklin ISD and a former Bryan ISD middle school technology teacher with over 16 years of teaching experience. She has conducted well over 50 unique training sessions for SimpleK12, click here to take a look more from Kim!
Have you created your first word cloud yet? What's your favorite way to use word clouds in the classroom? Tell me about it in a comment on this article.
Kimber Thompson is a Lead Moderator for SimpleK12 webinars and a Contributing Editor for SimpleK12.com. She writes frequently about education topics, and is passionate about tools and techniques that inspire young learners. You may reach her with ideas and comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.