Friday, September 7, 2012

Fun with Word Clouds

I am a bit of a computer junkie. Recently I discovered Tagxedo, where you can design free word clouds. I may be enjoying myself a little too much! I made this using the Pledge of Allegiance, which the girls are learning in our civics time.

The girls were intrigued when I showed them the website. They made one for their room - think loads of pink and purple and their names repeated over and over again - and also one for their dad's birthday. (I can't post that one until after they give it to him.) Word clouds are the "it" thing at our house right now!

During our school days, I have to be careful to limit my time online, or it is likely to overtake teaching time. However, my oldest also loves the computer, so it can be a valuable tool for encouraging her in subjects that she is reluctant to tackle. When she was working on the cloud for her bedroom, I had an idea about how I could transfer this to school time. By far our most challenging book in Year 1 has been Parables from Nature. The language is advanced, the ideas are challenging, and because I am reading it as a free Kindle download, there are no pictures to "help" her imagination. That being said, she has wrestled valiantly with it, and we have ended up enjoying most of the stories. Today, I decided to let her do her narration in a different kind of way. She created a word cloud for the parable "The Light of Truth." The story centers on a boy named Arthur, his father, and their experiences with the Will-o-the-Wisp - who, as everyone knows, wants to lure travelers to their deaths in the marsh... or does he? Do I even need to say that she thought this was a grand idea?!

I love how she chose colors and a shape that illustrated ideas from the story. Not only did she have a great time designing it, it also shows me that she really understood some of the key ideas. (As an aside, notice the word "beneficent" in there? It makes me smile when kids grab hold of big, impressive words. You can practically see them rolling the word around in their mouths - getting a feel for it, relishing the sounds of the syllables.)

If you have some free time, click on over to Tagxedo and see what you can come up with. If you post your finished cloud online anywhere, please include a link in the comment section.

Happy designing!

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