Friday, June 19, 2015

Using Wordle for Character Traits

I am always wanting to find ways to add technology into the lessons my students are learning. So, I am taking an online class this summer and have been introduced to so many resources.  I am overwhelmed, but I am loving all the learning!  This week I found the website, Wordle, which is a good tool for making a word cloud.  You do not need to log in to register.  The website seems fairly easy to maneuver, especially for my fifth graders.

My character unit of study seems to need some tweaking.  In the Common Core Standards, my fifth graders need to compare and contrast characters by their traits, actions, words, and feelings.  However, some of my students struggle with the understanding of character traits.  I like to spend time reviewing the concept and find text evidence to support their answers before comparing and contrasting two characters.

The students will break into small groups to discuss about five or more traits the main character showed throughout a novel.  While in small groups, the students will need to support the trait by finding words, actions, or feelings stated in the novel.   Before their group finishes, they will rank the traits 1-5 with 5 being the strongest.  One person can type the traits according to their ranking on a Google Doc.  If the trait is rated a five, then they type the word five times and so on.  Also, they will type the character's name a few more times than the strongest trait.  The highlight all of the text and copy it.

Now to make the word cloud, the students will go to  Click on the "create" button.  The next page will open up where the student will paste the copied text into the box.  Then they click on "go".  I did struggle with using Chrome and it would not work due to Java.  But I switched to the Safari browser and it worked just fine on my Macbook.

The website will then create a word cloud using the words you pasted into the box.  The more you type the words the bigger the word is in the cloud.  Since I wanted the character's name bigger, the students will type it more than any of the traits.  This is where the kids can have fun with creativity.  They can change the color and font and size.  Once they have what they want, then they can click on Print and save it as a pdf.

Using Jing, the students will make a screenshot, add a border, and write the text evidence from the novel using quotes in text boxes.  They can save and print once they are done.

I believe this will keep the kids engaged and use their creativity in technology.  Using Wordle word clouds can be a fun way to display vocabulary, their characteristic traits, or main ideas in a unit.  I think the possibilities are endless.  Wordle makes it easy. 

1 comment:

  1. Great project, especially with the app mashup. I like that you problem-solved, too. It would be nice for students to see how facilely you switched browsers to solve the problem.