All About "Wordle"

(an AMAZING Web 2.0 tool!)
Here is a link to the wordle site:
(1. Put a link to the site on your page - text in red are instructions for students at LCM)

cute example of a wordle from an 7th grader:
View this great slideshow about using Wordle in the classroom - fabulous ideas:

2. (Can you show an example of your tool? Use Grab or take a screen shot?)

Click here to go to the Wordle site:

Reasons for use / see the "Why Wordle?" text below

3. Describe the Tool - why would someone want to use it?
Wordle can be used for a multitude of reasons, including, but not limited to, the following:
  • Creativity
  • Personal Expression
  • Evaluation of "essense" of work - by submitting text to see most prominent words
  • Overview of project
  • Gauge student general understanding of topic, chapter, book

Ease of use

4. How easy is it to use - go into detail- would a student or teacher need an email to use this tool? Can a teacher create 'classroom accounts?"
VERY easy to use, for both teachers and students.

Resources or other info

5. What other info would someone want to have about this tool - other resources or widgets?Include Helpful hints or tips
At the Wordle site look at the Gallery, Forum and FAQ tabs to learn more about Wordle and to answer questions.

How to Use it in the Classroom

6. Think about how would YOU want to use it in the classroom - what are the possibilities? ask friends?
  • Students and teachers can use it as a creative piece of art
  • Describe a main or favorite character in a book using descriptive words
  • Write synonyms to describe a topic or concept
  • Write a poem or prayer and turn it into a wordle

Why Wordle?

At a recent workshop I was showing some teachers what a Wordle was. I used one I created from my blog as an example.

We talked a little about how easy the program was to use (for teachers and students) and how they would explain what the image showed when they created some with their kids. But there was one question that caught me a little off guard. Why would I use this in my class? I tried to give the teacher as many examples as I could (summarizing text, survey results, etc) but she still couldn't wrap her mind around it. I wanted to hear from other classroom teachers and have them tell me what they used it for, in the hopes that not only this teacher would understand but I would have an amazing list the next time I talk about Wordle. (And so would you!)

I did what any good educator does; I turned to my PLN on Twitter. I sent out a tweet:

If you had to explain to some one why use Wordle, what would you say? Use the hashtag #whywordle Thanks!

Within a matter of moments I had several great responses:

@colport-I use it as an assessment activity at the end of a topic, alongside concept maps from all groups in a class.
@aldtucker-It's COOL! Good visual representation of themes, versatile
@kmadolf-Focus on key words, ideas, themes. Fun to play around with font, color, layout. Can use to check own work for repetition. (I liked this one. Students can enter, say an essy, into Wordle and see if they have any words that they have used too much.)
@dpeter-Visual representation. Cognitive and Concept mapping. Makes the "difficult" manageable. Shows strength of words.
@adzbutterworth-I use Wordle to summarize texts and as an interesting way to present my class with keywords.
@FireWOW-We used it to examine our district's core beliefs. Very powerful to see which word(s) came up frequently/seldom (This was another idea that I think is amazing. Take your district/school/classroom mission/vision/rules to see what is over emphasized and what is lacking.)

But there were two that were really stuck out:

@mrsmac75-As a starter for students to try and guess where we're going with our lesson and create their own learning outcomes.
@ktenkely-I use Wordle as warm up. I hate the question, "What are we doing today." I give word clues about what we are doing in class.

That is so cool! Use Wordle to introduce students to a topic. So here is what you do. Lets say I am going to teach a lesson on the U.S. Constitution. I am going to gather all the text that I am using for my lesson, enter it into Wordle. To start my lesson I would show my students this:

Then as a class we would talk about the larger words (the words that appear most often in the text) and the no so large words (the words that do not appear as much).

The possibilities are endless really. There is a really great presentation from the Ideas To Inspire website; Thirty-Eight Interesting Ways To Use Wordle, that gives some more great examples.

Jen Wagner (@jenwagner) created a really cool site called Guess The Wordle. Each day she posts a Wordle and student (or classes) can guess what topic they think the wordle is related to. They get progressively harder throughout the week. What a great idea as a way to start the day off each morning!

How would you answer my teacher's question? What ways do you use Wordle in your classroom, or what ways have you seen others use it?

Posted by Tech Learning Blog Staff at 10/09/2009 09:32:20 AM |

That's very helpful. Thanks a lot for sharing it.

Posted by: eva büyüksimkeşyan ( Email: | Visit ) at 10/9/2009 2:59 PM

I have used Wordle in my class and school in the past. I use it for our discussion on bullying. I have the students each create a list of words that describe a "friend" and a list that describes a "bully". I then take all of their words and create a "friend" Wordle and a "bully" Wordle. I then made a classroom poster that had each Wordle on it and in big text had the question "Which one are You?". I have it posted on the classroom door so everytime they leave the classroom, they see this question.
Posted by: David Salmon ( Email: ) at 10/9/2009 3:32 PM

Hi Steven --
Thank you for the shout out and the kind words.

I am using wordles for reflection and reviews with my students. I also used it as a "getting to know you" with my High School home school class and believe I got to know them faster -- and perhaps they shared a bit more than standing in front of the class talking.

I am learning each time I create wordles -- especially the level 2 and 3's. In fact, on a few of them, I realized what I thought I knew was indeed wrong -- and creating the wordle helped correct my understanding. (especially on the history wordles!) :)

I have heard that they have been used for essay review on repetitive words and also for spelling errors.

Personally, I just think they are a fun, quick, and (if used correctly) a highly effective tool. However, on the other side -- some teachers who are using Guess The Wordle are using it as they would just a handed out worksheet -- and no extended conversations at all. And that, frustrates me.

Thanks for the post, the mention........
sorry if I rambled.
Posted by: JenW ( Email: | Visit ) at 10/10/2009 5:03 PM

Thanks for sharing this. We are trying to focus on academic language this year on our campus and this seems like a helpful tool. sometimes the vocabulary seems to go in one ear and out the other, but I think this visual might help. I wonder if you have any thoughts on which level Wordle has the most impact on. I work on a high school campus and wonder if the kids or staff might think its too elementary.
Posted by: Phil Gorden ( Email: | Visit ) at 10/10/2009 8:47 PM

I introduced a teacher friend to Wordle and she used it when she was ready to retire mid-year--she had her students write a few paragraphs about themselves and each student entered it in Wordle. They posted these in the room to introduce themselves to the new teacher who was coming in. I thought that was a neat way to introduce them and the word clouds were very colorful and fun posted in the room.
Posted by: Sheila Quinn ( Email: ) at 10/20/2009 3:20 PM

Thank you for all the ideas.
Posted by: E. owan ( Email: ) at 10/23/2009 2:38 PM

Getting kids to pay attention to words, and language in general, is challenging when so many have under developed sensitivity to words. Wordle is a helpful tool in getting them to see words.
Posted by: Juli Serrano ( Email: ) at 10/28/2009 1:30 PM

I learned of Wordle at the NCTIES conference in March, 2009. Thank you for sharing your ideas of ways to extend the use of this great tool!
Posted by: Jenny Minnick ( Email: ) at 10/29/2009 11:14 PM

I used wordle for test corrections. Students typed in the questions and answers that were missed on a test. Then they color schemed the words to their individual talents. It was a great way to "jazz" up the dreary review after a test.
Posted by: LeeAnne Warren ( Email: ) at 10/30/2009 10:30 AM

I was looking forward to using Wordle with my Jr. Hi Language Arts and Social Studies classes until one day I went to the site to see that it would work in our computers and the homepage example was full of obscene words --the worst you could imagine. And to think I may have put the students on the site without checking first!!! I can't take the chance of that happening again with students so I will not ever use the site.
Posted by: Rose Deeks ( Email: ) at 11/2/2009 1:12 PM

I have not found any explicit instructions on creating a wordle. I like the idea but the website's "create a page" is a dead link for me.
Posted by: jim ( Email: ) at 11/8/2009 9:40 AM

I teach in an elementary school and was so excited after hearing about Wordle at a tech conference. However, I became very disappointed because of the inappropriate material on the site. Has this changed?
Posted by: Paula ( Email: | Visit ) at 11/16/2009 2:57 PM

I teach in an elementary building and we were also concerned about the obsene language and so we followed the following steps that we found in another blog (would like to give credit but can't remember where I got it)

Simply have your networking administrator block the following base URLs (i.e. block all URLs that begin with the given text, and not merely those literal URLs.) :

and your users will not see anything that's not safe for classrooms. You'll still be able to save your work, bookmark your individual Wordle creations, print them out, and share the URLs of saved Wordles with each other and with families.Please let me know whether this works out for you in your school or other institution."

We also have the link on our page go directly to the create page...
Posted by: Lynda ( Email: ) at 11/20/2009 1:16 PM

I used Wordle for the first time this year with my 1st and 2nd grade students during their computer lab time. We created Halloween wordles and accomplished several things. First, it was a very effective way to show them the importance of using only ONE space between words when typing; Second, I modeled the creation of a wordle and then asked them if they could tell me why some words were larger than others (higher level thinking skills); Three, the students created their own Wordles, and armed with a bit of knowledge about how the wordle works, were able to express their own knowledge and feelings about Halloween in a fun and creative manner.

P.S. Thanks for the post about blocking portions of the Wordle site. That is an excellent solution to a potential problem.
Posted by: Kimberly ( Email: ) at 11/20/2009 11:07 PM

I teach 5th grade and we use wordle to find the meaning of greek and latin roots. I give the students the root on Mondays. Then the students list all of the words they can think of that contain the specific root - for example, if I give them the root "tract" they list all of the words that contain "tract" = tractor, retract, contract, extract, etc. Then the next day the students look up the definitions for the words. Finally on Wednesday we put the definitons into wordle and when you run the wordle - the meaning of the root will be displayed. This way i am not just saying what the root means, the students are discovering the meaning. When they enter the definition into wordle I also have them use the following format - root - word - definition. For example: tract - extract - To draw or pull out, often with great force or effort. It is important they follow this format so that the root is one of the largest words. This words amazingly well for greek and latin roots. Sometimes I do have to give the students words that I am confident will lead to the wordle with the correct meaning of the word. I love all of the ways to use wordle listed here!
Posted by: Robin Daugherty ( Email: | Visit ) at 11/26/2009 5:43 AM

My 5th graders use it to create graphic representations or our 26 character building Unity words. They quickly understood how to use it and had a great time changing the style to make it their own. I also plan to have them create Wordle self-portraits
Posted by: eileen ( Email: ) at 11/28/2009 3:34 PM