This is a lesson I have used on the way to creating a Wordle or any word cloud for that matter. Usually at the beginning of the year when students are getting to know their new classmates. I have mentioned Wordle in other posts but this blog is about the journey not the final product. Like most ICT lessons the process is where the learning takes place and the end product is the motivation and reward. This is why web 2.0 tools such as Wordle are so great. They create a brilliant end-product that engages and motivates the student to learn along the way.
THE LESSON – Aimed at Grades 3-6
The Task: Create a Wordle that describes who you are. “What are the key words that describe you?”
Show students what a Wordle will look like once it is finished and explain that the frequency of a word determines its size.
Step 1 – Word Processing App
Open a word processing document – for example Word. This is where we make our list of adjectives to describe who we are and what we are like. The reason we start in a word processing document is so that:
- students can save their words to use again,
- students can spell check,
- if there is an error while making the Wordle it is easy to retrieve the list and start again. (No tears method)
- this is an ideal opportunity to review or teach fast and efficient ways to copy and paste using the keyboard shortcuts as well as and the “non printing characters” that look like ” ¶”.
Step 2- List of single words
Aim to create a list of between 15 – 20 words (more words are acceptable for fast workers equally at times we have to accept less words.
COPY KEYBOARD SHORTCUT – CTRL+C (just replace CTRL with “command” for Mac computers:) The next step involves showing students how to use the keyboard shortcuts to copy and paste. They are to copy the words in the list according to how important they are. They copy their name the most times so that it stands out on the finished Wordle. This is an opportune teaching moment to show how useful the “non-printing characters” button can be. It is difficult to copy a single word on a line without copying the paragraph break as well so students soon find that their words always copy to a new line making the document unwieldy. By clicking on the “show non-printing characters” icon students can begin to see what’s happening. By simply adding a space after the word and before the paragraph break the students can then copy the word ready to paste on the same line as the original word.
PASTE KEYBOARD SHORTCUT – CTRL+V: This is the fastest way to paste a word more than once so it makes sense to use this method rather than the right click on the mouse or the “Paste” from the menu. I explain that I think this shortcut is a “V” because the V is shaped like a wedge to push the words into the line (and of course the P is already used for the shortcut to print). The students get plenty of practice copying and pasting their words to complete the list. Finally they copy the entire document using CTRL+A and paste it into the Wordle page.
One more trick of the trade is to have students link straight to the Create page in Wordle. This avoids the gallery and any Wordles that contain unpleasant words.
The final Wordle can be saved using a screen capture tool. Students often find their Persoanlity Wordle is useful throughout the year and the first place they like to post it is on their blog.
I just created my first wordle and it was SO easy following your instructions.