This week, my students are making Christmas gifts for their parents using Tagxedo, a free tool for creating word clouds. Tagxedo is very similar to Wordle, but I prefer to use Tagxedo because you can make your cloud many different shapes including animals, hearts, stars, and holiday items. I'm not entirely sure that's not possible on Wordle, but if it is, I haven't figured it out yet.
To start, I had the students brainstorm a list of words about their parent: appearance, personality, hobbies, favorite foods, etc. We did this with regular old pencil and paper.
|A brainstorming list|
Next, we went to Tagxedo and clicked "Start Now." That brought us to this screen, where we clicked "Load" and then typed in all the words from our list. In a word cloud, the size of words depends on how many times they appear in the entered text, so the bigger we wanted a word to appear in the cloud, the more times we typed it.
|Entering text for the word cloud|
We then experimented with shapes and themes (colors) until we had just what we wanted.
|The final product on Tagxedo|
Next, we saved the word cloud as a JPEG and printed it. We mounted it on cardstock and decorated (with glitter--lots of glitter).
This weekend I'll pick up picture frames at the dollar store so we can frame our creations. Then we'll wrap them up and take them home to put under the tree!
This is a very quick and fun way to have your students create something to take home to their family. It's also incorporate this into a lesson on adjectives or character traits (which we've been studying this month).