my students to leave when the bell
rang. I knew this was one site I wanted to share with other teachers.
In addition to teaching, I conduct
staff development workshops for
teachers in my district, and I include
Wordle in many training sessions.
Usually we create a word cloud with
the Declaration of Independence or
a piece of literature. It never ceases to
amaze me how Wordle just clicks with
so many teachers, no matter what
their level of technology is. Teachers
usually leave my workshop and, out
of all of the sites I cover, start using
One of the social studies teachers in
my school always asked her students
to create interesting covers for their
reports. She likes to encourage creativity, but some students complained
that they could not draw, and they
hated that part of the assignment.
The teacher’s technology skills were
not that strong, but she had heard
about Wordle. She gave them the
option of copying and pasting their
reports into Wordle, selecting layout
and color, and using that as the cover.
Many of her students decided to try it.
One student put her report into
Wordle and saw that also appeared as
the largest word, indicating that it was
the most frequently used. She showed
it to her teacher and said, “I guess
I use also too much.” The teacher
made a lesson out of it, and now the
students are much more aware of the
word choices they make.
This teacher now uses Wordle with
all of her students, and it has become
a word-variety self-assessment tool.
One language arts teacher decided to
play around with Wordle by using excerpts from literature. She found texts
on sites such as the University of Virginia’s eBook Library, printed them,
and displayed them in her classroom.
She didn’t teach with them, but soon
the students started asking about the
word clouds. She demonstrated to her
students how the Wordles can point
out the important stuff about characters, theme, etc. Students could also use
them to find repetitive words. She said
that because the images are so visually
appealing, kids are drawn to them and
they are more engaged in the text.
Wordle is much more than just a
way to create pretty pictures with
words. It is a great visualization tool
that can become a catalyst for discussion and insight. It is about understanding and discovering patterns
in text and generating conversations
among students and teachers.
Our Documents: www.ourdocuments.gov/
University of Virginia’s eBook Library:
Samantha Morra is a teacher and technology
coordinator at Glenfield Middle School in
Montclair, New Jersey. She began her career
as a kindergarten teacher and has been teaching
for 17 years.
S amantha Morra was the winner of L&L's Web 2.0 essay
c ontest, for which we asked teachers how they use Web
t ools, such as blogs, social networks, and wikis, to teach or
e ngage students. To read the other submissions, visit www.