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Government Wordle

Page history last edited by Olivia Holland 10 years ago





What is it?


Wordle is a tool available for teachers to use that creates a different kind of visual for students. Using www.wordle.net, teachers can input a text into the text box and Wordle will generate an image in which all of the words scrambled around, with words used more frequently in larger sizes. The site, http://www.wordle.net, was created in the summer of 2008 by Jonathan Feinberg, and since then people all over the world have been using it. It is especially useful for teachers because it gives you the opportunity to tweak the format, color, font, and size of the words to fit the needs of the purpose you have in mind for it. 


How does it work?

All you have to do is copy and paste a text into the textbook and click 'Go' and it will generate the image for you.


Steps to create a Wordle:

First, go to www.wordle.net. You will be directed to the home page, and from there, click 'Create' at the top of the page.



Next, where it says 'Paste in a bunch of text:' paste in your text. For our example, let's use John F. Kennedy's inaugural address, given on January 20, 1961:



Then click 'Go' and it will create your Worlde! From there, you can edit the layout (vertical, horizontal, mostly vertical, any which way, etc.), the font, and the color scheme. 



You can either save your Wordle to the public gallery, allowing anyone to see it, or you can print it right away. If neither of those options appeal to you, the easiest way is to take a screen shot on your computer. For PC users, press the 'Prt Sc' button to take a screen shot; for Mac users, hold down the Command + Shift + 4 keys, and your cursor will change; hold down the mouse and move your cursor over what you want to take a screen shot of, and then release the mouse. 


A word of caution:


As you can see, Wordle is a very easy tool to use; however, you must have Java in order for it to work properly. As suggested by Jonathan Feinberg, if you're using Internet Explorer, download either Firefox or Google Chrome and use that instead for when using Wordle. For Mac users, make sure your software update is current. By doing this, Wordle should work for you with next to no problems. 



Uses in a Civics/Government Classroom:


There are many different ways Wordle can be used in a Civics/Government classroom. Here are just a few examples:


Ask the students on the first day of class what words come to mind when they think of the word 'Government.' Copy the list and create a Wordle to hand out to them the next class. This Wordle will represent their pre-conceived thoughts concerning government, and will be something valuable to look back again on as you progress through the class. Here is a possibility of what it might look like:



Just like in History classes, Wordle can be a great tool to emphasize words in important speeches, writings, and legal documents. If the text is particularly long, such as Karl Marx's Communist Manifesto, it can be useful to use Wordle because it will make the most frequently used words stand out, depicted in a larger size font. Here is an example with a chapter from Karl Marx's Communist Manifesto:



Wordle can also be used to compare and contrast different texts pertaining to government and history. For example, if a teacher wanted to illustrate the similarities and differences between the Articles of Confederation and the Constitution, he/she could create a Wordle for each and have students analyze them using the Wordles.


The Articles of Confederation:



The Constitution:



Here are some more Wordles that could be useful in Civics/Government class:


The Magna Carta:



The Declaration of Independence:



The Bill of RIghts:



Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address:




Additional Resources:



     -Jonathan Feinberg's blog about his creation of Wordle.


     -Titled "38 Interesting Ways to Use Wordle in the Classroom."


     -A great lesson plan incorporating Wordle for students to show their understanding of the different types of government.


     -Teachinghistory.org’s explanation of Wordle and its uses. Although this is from a website pertaining to teaching history, government and                history go hand-in-hand, and the uses for Wordle are not much different for the two classes.


     -Rob Lucier’s excellent blog describing multiple uses for Wordle in the classroom; gives uses across all content areas.






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