Student Expression Through Word Clouds
Word Clouds are often used to facilitate conversations around key vocabulary in an essay, chapter of a book, or highlights of a lesson. Karyn Bartig, kindergarten teacher at Ericson Elementary School in San Diego Unified School District decided she wanted her students to create word clouds to highlight characteristics of students in her classroom. Karyn tells us…
“We do a lot of character studies in Kindergarten and it is always a challenge to get the Kinders to use bigger better descriptors. All year the overlying theme is ‘we are all unique and that’s what makes us special’ and ‘appreciate, respect, and utilize the differences in others.’ I challenged them to really think about the friends in our class and find the perfect words to describe each one. I was thoroughly impressed with how intuitive and descriptive the Kinder’s were. I’d say they were spot on.”
Karyn started by providing students a simple sheet containing each student’s name (see image). Next, she asked her students to write a word describing each student. The only rule was that they could only use one word twice. She then put the responses in Tagul, a word cloud generator, where she created 26 different word clouds, one for each student. When the student’s names were put into Tagul she chose to make the actual name the largest and then typed the character traits that each student came up with. The more times a word was repeated the larger it grew. See what the students had to say about Ms. Bartig in the image below!
After Karyn created the word cloud, she printed them, framed them, and hung them on the wall for her students to see. Karyn was thrilled that her students were so excited.
“I Can’t believe how many people said I was smart” said one student.
Another student who is an excellent artist was ear to ear smiles when “artistic” turned out to be one of the larger words on her cloud. “It makes me feel really happy,” said another student.
The students were proud to share what their peers had said about them. What a great way to validate the individuality of students and share their characteristics with the class!
More pictures click here or on the NEXT page