Wordle provides an easy way to create word clouds. If you haven't created a word cloud before, a word cloud looks something like this...
(These states were not picked at random...do you know the significance?)
Wordle will create a word cloud that is compiled of words that you (or your students) paste or type in. The site includes the feature of skipping small and common words (a, then, and...). You can change the way that your word cloud looks in Wordle by using the Font, Layout, and Color menus at the top of the word cloud window. If you're looking for a quick change use the "Randomize" button to generate a change.
It's free to use and you don't have to create a login. Just head over www.wordle.net and click "Create"!
Simply print your word cloud (or just save it in pdf form) when you are finished or take a picture of it on your screen using a free capturing tool...like Jing! To learn more about Jing head over to Cindy Tucker's blog at www.emsisd.com/ctuckerblog!
Wordle can be used for many purposes in the classroom...from typing in words that describe an object or common theme (like the word cloud above), to students pasting in their own writing to create a word cloud. If students paste in text from their own writing, Wordle can serve as a great tool for identifying words that are used frequently (possibly too frequently) in their own writing because those words will be larger in the word cloud!
In looking for resources on using Wordle in the classroom I came across 45 Interesting Ways to use Wordle in the Classroom. It's a compilation of different ways that Wordle has been used by teachers...check it out!