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Word Clouds

As a class we just finished the read aloud, Soldier Bear which is a true story based upon a bear that is enlisted as a soldier in the Polish Army during WWII.  Interested?  The kids EAT IT UP!  There will be more activities posted as we respond to our reading!  :)  
When I had previously seen Word Clouds, I thought they were cheesy, with no purpose, a time waster, and I wanted none of it.  My tune has changed a bit! 

Word clouds give students the opportunity to do a close reading of the text while making a visual representation.  This strategy allows students to analyze text and synthesize information into a few words. Students can select words from a number of sources.  We brainstormed first using a Character X-Ray which helped students to use a variety of vocabulary to describe both internal and external traits. ( for instructions check out this blog)
 The possibilities are endless, but for analyzing a text I have them choose 5 words that remind them of the book, character, etc. and the what evidence from the book supports it.  Right now, in 2nd grade I am big on BECAUSE and getting them in a habit of not using general phrases without giving reason.
We made word clouds both online and on our iPads with apps.  For computers I use 
Wordle makes the text bigger based upon how many times the word is entered.  There are lots of ways to manipulate them.
Tagxedo allows you to import a photo into your word cloud.
While I like the online versions, I found the apps to be far more of a pleasant experience.  So far we have tried  Wordsalad (Because it was free) and Phoetic because it was$.99 and you could import photos from your camera roll.  I am not sure quite how I feel about the app ones yet, but will explore the other word cloud apps in future lessons. 

I have students type their words into a word or note document and then copy them over.  This allows edits for spelling and just in case something wonky happens with technology.  
Watch for information about word clouds. 

Students are now making them for other books they have read, themselves, family members, etc.

I like it because it is a visualization and really leads to incredible collaborative conversations that require text evidence.

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