Especially at elementary level they tend to overuse the same basic words and their essays are quite repetitive.
Last week my class ( third year middle school ) was given a written test : " My trip to England", as a closing activity after a civilization unit about the United Kingdom.
While checking their essays I noticed their writings were full of words such as "go", "beautiful", "place" and "see".
I wanted to make them visually aware of this and so I asked them to recopy their texts using the computer, to save the file, to copy the document and to paste it into Wordle.
These are some of the word clouds they created.
So we decided to work on the BIG words, the ones which recurred more often in their writings, and to find synonyms.
On the IWB we used a free visual Thesaurus .
We also used a great tool to work with collocations, Just the word.
The students updated their lexical notebooks with all the new nouns, verbs and adjectives.
I told them that, at this point, they had to take their essays and try to make them better,by adding and substituting words in the texts whenever possible.
One of them had a brilliant idea and proposed: " What if we do the same wordle thing again? After the redrafting, in the clouds there shouldn't be any big words. We should end up with a plain text!"
They liked the solution and, the following lesson, they were proud of their new wordle clouds.
Here are two of them.
For more ideas on how to use Wordle in the classroom have a look at this presentation by David Dodgson.
You can also find interesting ideas here.
PS What if I put this post into Wordle?
Whoops! Too many "words clouds" and "students"!