Oh, the Many Things a Word Cloud Can Be...
Whether you're in a classroom, speech therapy room, or at home, adults are always looking for engaging ways for students to show us what they know. If you're one of those adults, then a good ole' fashioned word cloud might be just what you need. This technology favorite not only provides an easy and efficient means to create eye-catching student work, but like the clouds floating by above our heads, the possibilities are endless.
Have students make a word cloud for new or familiar vocabulary words by describing a specific word or concept - what it looks like, feels like, where it is located, what it is used for, and anything else that comes to mind.
Don't forget to include synonyms...for example, a plateau is also called a high plain or a tableland. Consider how the featured word is related to other words. A plateau is a type of landmass, which pertains to the field of geography. Plateaus are also classified by the area in which they are found - continental, piedmont, and intermontane.
Word clouds provide a new twist on word webs. Not only can students include information about the word or concept, but they can also include associated information. For example, an anemometer is an instrument that measures wind.
Students can give a "word report" of sorts by telling others about each word listed, how it relates to the featured word or theme, and why it was included in the word cloud.
Students can create a word web for an entire category, including as many words as they can recall or locate. The possibilities are endless - transportation, occupations, food, sports, states, countries, planets, clothing, superheroes, plants, household items, etc.
Word webs are a great way to facilitate carry-over to classroom and home environments. Keep parents and teachers in the loop by sharing your word cloud, either electronically or by printing a hard copy. The back page of a printed word cloud provides students with free space to write down notes, reminders, or define words.
Speech & Articulation
Kids can make a word cloud containing words featuring their target sound. These could include either words they are in the process of learning or words they have already mastered and ready to show the world.
Grammar & Language Concepts
Don't stop now, word clouds can be used to create lists of grammar specific words, such as regular and irregular plurals;
present progressive -ing verbs; third person singular verbs; regular and irregular
past tense verbs;
pronouns; & more.
Making Your Own Word Cloud
Interested in making your own word cloud? Simply google "word cloud" to find an on-line word cloud generator that meets the needs of you and your students. I used abcya.com to make these word clouds. Their word cloud generator is student friendly as it is easy to navigate, edit and print clouds, includes a variety of options in terms of colors, fonts, and designs, and most importantly has a built-in spell check function.
When making a word cloud remember...
1. That the more times you enter in the same word, the larger that word will appear in your word cloud. For these examples, the theme word was listed about 5-7 times, while the rest of the words were listed only once.
2. Word clouds are made of words, not phrases or sentences. So, words with a space will need to be entered as one word (for example, walking stick, school bus, Uncle Sam, etc.).
What kind of word clouds will fill your skies?