Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Wordle Word Cloud

This is a pre-reading activity which I learned from a language arts teacher at my school and then saw Carol Gaab demonstrate at NTPRS last summer.  For this, you will need the Wordle website and a reading which you plan to introduce .

If you are not familiar with Wordle, it is a website which will take a reading passage and then based on word frequency,  it will create a word cloud, showing which words are used more often than others - the bigger the size of the word, the more frequently the word is used. 

This particular activity is something which you will want to do just prior to reading a story for the first time, because students will be predicting what they think the story will be about based on the words which they see. As a result, you as the teacher will have needed to preview any new vocabulary/language structures through other prereading activities.

  1. Cut/paste a 5-6 sentences from the reading onto the Wordle website.
  2. Create a word cloud using Wordle.
  3. Save the image and paste onto a document
  4. Project the word cloud onto the board and based on the words in the word cloud, ask students to predict what they think the story is going to be about. I ask students to create sentences in Latin. This is why students need to know already the vocabulary/language structures in the story.
An example:

  1. Students really do like to predict what they think they the story will be about.
  2. Because students have predicted the plot of the story, they have a more vested interest in what they are reading, as they are mentally comparing their version with the actual story
  3. After reading the story, I have actually had students say, "I like my version so much better than the real one." Many times, I will make a mental note of what they thought the plot to be and will write an alternate version of the story which incorporates their plot for them to read later.

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