Wordle is probably the best known word cloud generator. In just a few steps, any piece of text can be turned into a word cloud, and it’s easy for children to spot which words are used most often in the text as they are displayed more prominently. However, asking children to examine the smaller words in the cloud can open up new vocabulary that is less often used in writing.
With Tagxedo you have the option to turn your word cloud into one of a selection of shapes, including various animals and objects like a tree, a speech bubble and a footprint. Hover over any word in a Tagxedo cloud and it will be enlarged, great for seeing those smaller words clearly.
Tagul also offers lots of flexibility for turning your word cloud into a shape, and offers the added facility of automatically turning the words in the cloud into hyperlinks, where a click of the word will Google it for you.
There are of course many other word cloud generators available, each one offering slightly different features. You will need to test a few out to see which fits best with your needs. All kinds of class activities can be created by using word clouds:
- Why not ask pupils to create a word cloud that represents themselves? A great start-of-the-year activity for your students to introduce themselves.
- Students take one of their own extended pieces of writing and turn it into a word cloud. They can then look for which words are overused and could be replaced with better alternatives.
- Word clouds in other languages can be a very interesting way to introduce children to new vocabulary. Why not take a foreign translation of a familiar story and turn it into a word cloud, can pupils guess the story?
- Creating word clouds from songs is an interesting way to see them in a new light. Asking young pupils to sing the song while pointing to the words in the cloud can develop their skills in recognising written words.