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Thursday, January 27, 2011

Word Play with Wordle: Getting the Main Idea

I just started playing with Wordle, an artistic visual organizer for a collection of words otherwise known as word clouds.  Have you tried Wordle yet?  I have seen it used as a summary tool for groups who are describing their experiences, feelings, or impressions.  Each person creates a list of adjectives.  Then, one person enters all of the lists into a Wordle page.  The results are a beautiful "word cloud".  The words that were mentioned more frequently are depicted by color and size of the word.  The words mentioned once are much smaller. 

I see a lot of applications for Wordle in the classroom.  Here's an example.  You ask your students to develop a Wordle highlighting the main ideas in the book they are currently reading.  They record Themes and concepts five times.  They record main ideas three times, supporting details two times, and minor details such as the names of characters once.  They create the Wordle.  Then, they share their creation in person with their peers and  on the class Wiki or Blog.  If the whole class is reading the same text, the students can create a class Wordle.  They would create a list of adjectives describing the book or a selection from the book.  The list would be compiled and the Wordle created. 

Wordles are a great way of capturing ideas through a very fluid thinking process.  Plus, it's fun!  Check them out at wordle.net.  What are your experiences with Wordle?  Do you have other tools that are as equally engaging?  Do  you need more information about Wordle in the classroom?  Check out this link:  http://blog.simplek12.com/education/video-how-to-use-wordle-in-the-classroom/?utm_source=feedblitz&utm_medium=FeedBlitzEmail&utm_content=648760&utm_campaign=0

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