Mr Finlayson

Education and Technology


Posted by alexfinlayson on June 12, 2009

I’ve mentioned Wordle in a number of posts so I thought it was about time I talked specifically about this wonderful little program and its potential for use in the classroom…

In their own words…

“Wordle is a toy for generating “word clouds” from text that you provide. The clouds give greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the source text. You can tweak your clouds with different fonts, layouts, and color schemes. The images you create with Wordle are yours to use however you like. You can print them out, or save them to the Wordle gallery to share with your friends”.

Simply put – you enter text into the box – click ‘create’ and a word cloud is generated; giving the most frequently used words more prominence.

Playing Around – Pick the Poem

While I was getting used to the format I used some classic poems, simply inputting the text and clicking ‘create’…

Can you guess what they are? – hold your mouse over the picture to see the title and poet


 The Lady of Shalott by Alfred Lord Tennyson





Please Mrs Butler by Allen AhlbergDaffodils by William Wordsworth









Chocolate Cake by Michael Rosen

The Highwayman by Alfred Noyes









Talking Turkeys by Benjamin ZephaniahThe Raven by Edgar Allen Poe

 Educational Use…

  1. What you just did
  2. Scrapbooking
  3. Analysis of text – Newspaper Articles, Science Reports, Poems – what is the key subject matter?
  4. Vocab list
  5. High-frequency ‘no-excuses’ word wall (display those words that should never be wrong – all classes should have this)
  6. Analysis of key words
  7. Analysis of over-used words (we do this a lot)

E.g. – One of our very first Myst lessons was to write a description of Myst Island. My guys all wrote sentences in their Myst Journals, edited them, then typed them up into a Wiki. We then copied all 20 pieces of text into Wordle… this was the result…

Myst Island

We then used this image to analyse the key words the guys had chosen to describe the island…

Were they too simple?

Could we do better?

This led on to lessons using Visuwords, thesaurus’, similes and metaphorical expressions.


NB: Important – the standard link to Wordle (  takes you to the home page. This page has examples of user-wordle docs. They are not censored. It is wise to link directly to the create page ( thus avoiding images created using the text from a letter to Playboy (true story!) 

And finally, what does this Wordle show?

A Wordle Cloud generated from all the text in this post


5 Responses to “Wordle”

  1. You’re posts about Myst contain lots of wonderful ideas, I particularly like the Display post and I really like the way you use Wordle in this. I may have to borrow a few for use in the future.

    • alexfinlayson said

      Thanks Kevin, I’ve just noted your blog address so I’m going to have a scoot around that this evening (when time allows) Wordle really is great, the kids love to play with the pattern, not realising that when they’ve finished organising the words, they’ve pretty much learned them all. Good old repetition!

  2. Melinda said

    Loved your Wordle ideas! Thanks – can I share them with my colleagues?

    • alexfinlayson said

      Thanks Melinda, go right ahead! It’s a great little program – I’m sure there are lots more uses – would love to hear how you get on. Al

  3. Claire said

    Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful tool. Can’t wait to use it in September!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: