19 Word Cloud Resources, Tips, & Tools

Part of the Cool Sites series

Learning new vocabulary can be quite daunting for most students. We just have to look at the literacy rates to see how much children struggle with vocabulary. Rote learning of vocabulary does not really work. Experience has taught me students remember what they use and explore. Students need to have fun, engage with the material, and explore how their new knowledge works. Vocabulary lists are boring, but word clouds can be quite engaging. Therefore, I am sharing my favorite ways to help your students begin to explore new vocabulary through various word cloud tools, tips, and resources.

Wordle

Wordle is one of the best ways to engage learners if you know how to use it well. The following links will help you:

Alternatives

  • Tech Tools & Pedagogy– Word Clouds- Marisa Constantinides’ post includes a comparison chart that lists the options for each of the following word cloud tools and shows you visual examples of each.
  • WordSift- clouds like Wordle with more options to sort words by frequency and alphabetically. Not as visually pleasing.
  • Word Mosaic- great to make word clouds that fit a shape like a circle, exclamation mark, or heart. You can embed this. With Wordle you have to take a screenshot.
  • Word it Out- similar to Wordle. You can embed this, change the cloud shape, and differentiate the font colors. This tool is easy to customize, but still I prefer Wordle.
  • Tagul- make word clouds that fit a shape but each word becomes a link to a website.

A few more alternatives include:

  • ABC ya!- Visually pleasing like Wordle. You can choose different fonts and font colors. You have to edit your text, because this catches all common words and symbols. You can get the most common words in your text, however, by using Vocab Grabber. I found out about this program from The Book Chook.
  • Clusty Cloud Creator- Type in a topic and this generates a word cloud of its own. You do not get to choose the text, but the words are links to searches of the terms.
  • Alpha Works- An IBM Java program that is supposed to be just like Wordle. You have to register with IBM, then download this. I believe this only works with PCs, because it did not work on my Mac. Here are the instructions, because getting the program is quite complicated, but may be worth the hassle if it works like Wordle.
  • Tweet Cloud- make word clouds from your tweets or from topics and hashtags.

Resources

Tips

  • You can make phrases in Wordle by using the ~ to group words. Click here for an example of how I did this with the #PTChat question, Do~Kids~Get~Too~Much~Homework.
  • Make specific words larger by simply repeating them.
  • My favorite Wordle trick is to overlay a Wordle on an image. I found out how to do this through Tim Ryland’s post, Wordles of Character. Simply, have students open up PowerPoint then insert an image. Next, paste the screen shots they took of their Wordles. Open the Picture Palette tool box and select Set Transparent Color. Click on the solid background color of the Wordle. Finally, make the size adjustments.
  • Below is what all these combined tricks looked like in a recent Wordle I did for #PTChat.

Picture 4

Tagul Tips

I use Tagul when I want to have each of the words in a cloud lead to a link with more information or to have them in a specific shape such as a heart, star, rectangle, or regular cloud. If a student has written a research paper, this may be a fun way to have them provide the links of several websites they discovered that lead to more information on a topic. You can also use this as a tag cloud for your blog like I did below. Go ahead click on any word and it will lead to one of my posts!

Two ways to customize links:

  • By default, Tagul will have the clickable links lead to Google search results of each word. In order to customize the links to go to a specific blog, go to the Core Options tab and replace the Google search link with your blog’s search link and at the end add /$tag. For my blog the link I used was http://shellyterrell.com/?s=$tag. I got this link by clicking on my search this blog box on my sidebar and pressing enter. Do this for your blog to get the search box link. You also can eliminate tags under the tag tab.
  • You can also customize the link of each word to whatever website you choose. This takes a little more time since there are 300 different tags. You do this by clicking the API mode box in the Core Options category and playing with the code.

Challenge:

Don’t have students memorize word lists, instead have students use one of these tools or tips.

You may want to subscribe for FREE to receive regular updates!

Which of these tips or tools can you see your students using?


Bookmark and Share

Read More

What Did They Tweet?

3rd wk of January edition of the What Did They Tweet weekly series!

This week many important events were tweeted about. Most notably, were tweets which focused on Haiti and Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday. I love the power of social media to make the world aware of international disasters. Twitter has been an important tool in making people aware and spurring them to action.

Haiti in Pictures

Through my friend, @monk51295, I learned about this article, Haiti 6 Days Later, which reveals the dire situation in Haiti. The images are very powerful, which prompted Monika Hardy to respond, “Hard to take this in.”

Picture 5

MLK’s Influence

@Aleaness posted great reflections of Martin Lurther King, Jr. this week. In her blog, she posted this inspirational quote from Martin Luther King, Jr.,

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

Ann Leaness also shared her incredible student project where her students voiced their opinions about what mattered to them. Below is her student video using a cool tool, Stupeflix. Her post, Wallwisher and Stupeflix in the Classroom, is definitely a must read! She has 2 WallWishers that accompany the project. Moreover, she tells you how she accomplished this much interaction with her students in 2 days.

The Death of Education, The Beginning of Learning

@Classroom_tech shared this thought-provoking video on why technology is needed in schools . I love the conversational tone of the video and the teacher interviews.

Haiku Song by 3rd Grade Girls

@Marisa_C shared this video, which shows a song written and performed by 3rd grade girls about female empowerment. The lyrics are a series of haiku’s. What an accomplishment!

Opportunities for Educators

Three opportunities arose on Twitter this week to win some cool technology for the classroom or earn some cash. Below is a list:

Add the people in this post to your PLN by using this mass Twitter tool. Just copy and paste this list!

monk51295, aleaness, classroom_tech, marisa_c, mbteach, theokk, simpleceo, larryferlazzo, kalinagoenglish

If you enjoy this series, you may want to subscribe for FREE to receive regular updates!

For more tweets, check out these posts:

Challenge:

Share one of these resources with another educator not on Twitter. Then tell them you got the tip from educators on Twitter!

Care to share a tweet about Martin Luther King, Jr. or Haiti that touched you?


Bookmark and Share

Read More

Holiday Sites to Bring You Cheer!

Part of the Cool Sites weekly series!

As a little girl, I made Christmas gifts for my father. He preferred them over bought gifts. Well, at least until I can afford box seats for the Dallas Cowboys games. Making gifts can be difficult for children who have to beg a parent to buy them the materials and disguise this so one parent does not find out. However, web 2.0 tools have made this task a bit easier. If your children, students, or you still need to make some gifts for the holidays here are a few free websites to help!

Animoto

This video site has amazing multimedia tools and Christmas templates to help you make inspirational videos. You can sign up for a free educator account to access premium tools for your students, but you should do it now. It took a month for me to get my account. Here’s my video greeting for you!

Vimeo

I’ve made my family various Christmas videos throughout the years, but who can beat the quality of Vimeo. You can also embed videos on a website, blog, or wiki. Vimeo provides me most of the inspirational videos I include in this blog, because many of the videos come with a post detailing the story behind the video. The Chiarastella (bright star) video illustrates an Italian tradition told through the drawings and music of 22 eight-year-old students. A few days before Christmas the children go caroling with a star-shaped lantern and sing for money. The better they sing, the more money the children receive.

Chiarastella from Raffaella Traniello on Vimeo

Mixbook

Create stories, photo journals, and more! Look at this incredible Christmas story illustrated and written by Hunter.

Mixbook - Create Beautiful Photo Books and Scrapbooks! | View Sample Photo Books | Create your own Photo Book

Scrapblog

Has many templates and tools to make your holiday message look like a scrapbook! Check out the holiday greeting created by Akela.

Even More Holiday Goodies

Hundreds of other holiday web 2.0 tools and websites are mentioned in the links below:

Challenge:

Make a homemade holiday gift for someone!

You may want to subscribe for free to receive regular updates and keep watch for the New Year’s Cool Sites coming up this week!


Bookmark and Share

Read More

What Did They Tweet?

3rd week of December edition!

The holidays are coming, so after next week this series will take a small break and come back in the New Year! This time would be great for catching up on previous editions of this weekly series, What Did They Tweet? If you are viewing this from an RSS reader, you may want to check the homepage to see the embedded videos and frames.

21 Things that Became Obsolete This Decade

@Sammorra shared this incredible post about various technologies and services we rarely use. What astonishes me is that many of these services and tools were quite popular. What do you think will be obsolete in 2020? Twitter? Facebook? Iphones?

Christmas Web 2.0 Project Challenge

@Evab2001 has created an incredible wiki that challenges students to use web 2.0 tools to explore several web 2.0 topics. Below is the Glogster of the challenge but please visit the wiki for more details on how to participate!

Digital Dilemmas for Students

@Pmacoun shared this interactive website, That’s Not Cool, that has students study where they draw their digital line. Students are presented various scenarios like the one below and their choice yields different outcomes. Click on any of the choices in the video to see the outcome!

Animation Storytelling Videos for Kids

@Uponschoolcloud shared their channel on Vimeo which is full of kid friendly animated stories. I really loved this one below about the element Oxygen. This is a fun way for students to recall and understand how elements work together.


Oxygen from Christopher Hendryx on Vimeo.

Technology Video Site Similar to TED

Educators love TED talks and thanks to @Sabridv‘s tweet we can enjoy another website, PopTech, with videos about various issues! Below is a short one I liked about turning students into global citizens.

Twitter and the Backchannel

@vale24 shared this article, Conference Humiliation: They’re Tweeting Behind Your Back, which investigated the humiliation presenters faced when Tweckled, heckled by Twitterers. This article makes you think about the potential of Twitter as a backchannel in presentations. In many of the cases, the presenters suffered from technology malfunctions and suffered what the article terms a “virtual lynching.” What happened to netiquette and how far is too far?

Add the people in this post to your PLN by using this mass Twitter tool. Just copy and paste this list!

sammorra, evab2001, pmacoun, sabridv, uponschoolcloud, vale24, larryferlazzo, kalinagoenglish

If you enjoy this series, you may want to subscribe for FREE to receive regular updates!

For more tweets, check out these posts:

Challenge:

Think about a resource or tweet that struck you this week! Share this with another educator not on Twitter then if they’re interested tell them you got the tip from educators on Twitter!

What was your favorite tweet this week? Why?


Bookmark and Share

Read More

What Did They Tweet?

2nd week of December edition!

The countdown till Christmas is coming! Here are some gifts I found on Twitter. You can find more in this weekly series, What Did They Tweet?

Educators Learning to Change Video

@Ejulez shared this video tweeting, “We have to accept as educators that technology is not a choice.” I think the video really leaves room for discussion. The comments showed educators who were strongly against this video, but many other educators on Twitter believed in the message. What do you think?

Where Do I Start with Web 2.0?

@Techmunoz has created an incredible website full of resources for teachers new to web 2.0 tools. On the website, I found this presentation which illustrates various easy web 2.0 tools to integrate in the classroom and how to use them.

Prezi: What is Social Gaming?

@Shiv53 shared this Social Gaming Prezi created by Hovanes Gasparian. Prezi is a better approach to presentations than PowerPoint. The one below provides useful information on social gaming for our students!

Student Views About Reading

What do students think about the future of newspapers? In this post, the teacher, Ms. Stewart, shows a video interview of her students answering this question and others about reading. Watch the video below which was shared by @GiseldaSantos.

Plagiarism Tutorial

@NBCCSue provided this great tutorial on plagiarism. Students choose a player and decide which acts of the players are considered plagiarism. Have students learn about plagiarism in a fun way!

Days With My Father

@capohanka shared this website, which provides a really touching view about a son watching his father become older. This is a thought-provoking story to share with students. The website provides various images and words by the father as he becomes forgetful. If you do not see the embedded website below, please visit the website. Click in the box to see thumbnails that will lead you to various parts of the story.

Add the people in this post to your PLN by using this mass Twitter tool. Just copy and paste this list!

ejulez, techmunoz, shiv53, GiseldaSantos, NBCCSue, capohanka, larryferlazzo

If you enjoy this series, you may want to subscribe for FREE to receive regular updates!

For more tweets, check out these posts:

Challenge:

Think about a resource or tweet that struck you this week! Share this with another educator not on Twitter then if they’re interested tell them you got the tip from educators on Twitter!

What was your favorite tweet this week? Why?


Bookmark and Share

Read More