Thursday, May 17, 2012

Tip of the Week: May 18, 2012: World Clouds in the Classroom

Word Clouds can be a creative and powerful tool in the classroom.  Word clouds arrange chunks of text in a visual way.  Most word clouds represent the words used most often in the text on a larger scale than the others.  What a great way to quickly see what was most prominently used!  What does that tell you...?  What would you predict would appear most often?  Themes?  Talking points?

Here's one I created using the text of the Declaration of Independence...

Click HERE for a link to many more ideas for using this in the classroom (or personally!)...

1 comment:

  1. So I have been away from Wordle for a while, but Donna’s blog post brought me right back! I am sitting here proctoring Science MCAS in 5th grade and I realized that this could be exactly the right application to find out which vocab words are essential for fifth graders to know in order to be successful on this test!

    So, I copied and pasted every 5th grade Science MCAS question into a Pages document. This part was pretty easy - I used the MCAS question search on the DOE and simply copied all of the text that included both Open Response and Multiple Choice questions from 2007 - 2011. After pasting though, there was a lot of JUNK words that I know I didn’t want to include in my wordle, so I used Pages’ FIND/REPLACE tool. This is the perfect tool to use before you paste your text into your Wordle.

    I went to the EDIT menu and selected the FIND tool. A small window opens up. All you have to do is type the word in the “Find:” field and then leave the “Replace” field blank. Hit “Replace All” and it will delete all the occurrences of that word in your whole document. In fact, in a very satisfying manner, a little note comes up that tells you how many examples of that word were found, and then replaced!

    So I started by deleting all the words that came before each question - describing what standard they were from, etc. (Physical Science, Life Science, etc.)

    Then I pasted most of the text that was left into Wordle. Incidently, I couldn’t get it to work in Firefox (even after updating Java - as it told me to in the Wordle directions) so I simply went to Safari and pasted the text into Wordle there.

    Now, here’s where I ended up playing with it. Remember that the bigger the word is, the more times it occurs in your text! So when I got these really big words that didn’t really have much importance to kids and needing to know them for MCAS, I did FIND/REPLACE again and continued to copy/paste the text into Wordle in Safari until I got it to look like (and truly represent) all the science words that fifth graders need to know!

    Here are some of the words that I found (many of them occurred more than 40 times!) and then got rid of BEFORE the final Wordle: following, many, one, two, three, e.g, example, give, best, shows, likely, make, another, shown, statements, different etc.

    Hopefully I’ll be able to upload a jpg of the Wordle so you can see it. It looks like 5th graders better know everything they can about water!!!!!