Wordle Pre-Read Activity

Last week, I was sauntering down the hallway to a Spanish classroom but had to make a quick pit-stop into an 8th grade English classroom because of what I saw on the board. As I peered into her small, classroom window, I noticed a Wordle on her board. Now, I have used Wordle in the past, but not the creative way that she was using it with her 8th grade students. I had always used wordle after I taught a lesson to review big concepts. According to http://www.wordle.net, “Wordle is a toy for generating “word clouds” from text that you provide. The clouds give greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the source text. You can tweak your clouds with different fonts, layouts and color schemes. The images you create with Wordle are yours to use however you like. You can print them out, or save them to your own desktop to use as you wish.”

The 8th grade English teacher was about to start a new novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, with her students, but instead of reading the back cover or filling out a KWL chart, she took the summary of the book and pasted it into wordle to create an image of the summary. The class had a great discussion because of it. She simply said, “Tell me what you think this novel is going to be about and why?” Student responses included:
“I think the main character is going to be someone named Scout because that word is really big.”
“The book must be centered around a school with children and maybe Maycomb is the city in which the book takes place.”
Other ideas of how to use Wordle in your classroom:
  • biographies
  • auto-biographies
  • book reports
  • essay writing- Imagine trying to teach students the importance of varying your sentences. Many times students want to start sentences with “I.” To see if their essays are varied, have them put their essay in a wordle and make sure the word I is not the largest word on the wordle. Discuss how the main character, theme or location should be the biggest words. 
  • speeches- what words were most important
  • Vocabulary- give students new words and have them come up with as many words as they can that are associated with that word and create a wordle
  • along with a survey- Survey students using google forms and put results into Wordle to clearly see the favorite
Awesome website with 125 ideas on how to use Wordle.
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