Finding ways to keep the interests of students is certainly challenging. For years, “manipulatives” were hot items because they occupied the mind and hands of students, allowing them to connect the different modalities in one lesson. Today’s students are a lot more tech savvy and seem to get bored quicker. I continue to search for ways to engage students while exposing them to content. With that being said, here’s an interesting way to use a “word cloud” tool to focus on content, vocabulary and spelling. The site is www.tagxedo.com. Tagxedo lets you build word clouds, but with an additional spin. You can import shapes and pictures, or choose from the stock shapes on the website to create a picture using words. You’ve heard the expression, “A picture paints a thousand words” haven’t you? Well here is proof!
Here are two project ideas:
1) SELF-PORTRAIT. What you will need: Laptops or computers, list of words describing themselves, a picture of the student either on a Flash Drive or on the computer hard drive. Part 1: Have students create a list of words that describe themselves. Have other students in the class contribute to the list by adding positive attributes that a student may not list about themselves. This is a cool activity for programs like “Capturing Kid’s Hearts.” Next, have the students use all of the words created in the list to write an autobiographical paper. Part 2: For the follow-up activity have students open www.tagxedo.com. Once there, students can import their picture, load the Tagxedo with the list of words or even better, the autobiography and watch as the words spin a likeness of the student using words. Save, Share or Print out.
2) FAMOUS PEOPLE/SPEECHES IN HISTORY. What you will need: a famous speech and a picture of the person who delivered the speech. Part 1: Find an important speech from history. Discuss what was happening around the time the speech was delivered, and the importance of the speech. Now, after doing your research about the speech, the person, what was happening in this time period in history, and the impact of the speech…use the words to the speech and load them into Tagxedo. Import a picture of the person who delivered the speech. Watch as Tagxedo spins a likeness of the person using their own words from the speech.
Watch the video for the basics of how to use Tagxedo. The program is pretty intuitive, and in no time at all, you will be creating all kinds of really cool projects on your own.
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