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Hungry for a Word Salad?

October 13, 2014

word cloud created from this blog using https://www.jasondavies.com word cloud generator

Have you ever tried Word Salad? No, I don’t mean a salad made with words. I mean the iPad app, Word Salad, used for making Word Clouds?

Word Clouds are more than just pretty cloudy words on a screen. When learners create Word Clouds, they are actually looking at data. The data are words.

Word Clouds can assist in brainstorming, enhancing critical thinking, clarifying concepts, or helping students actually see overused words in their own writing.

You can make Word Clouds on your iPad using the app Word Salad Lite (free). There are other iPad apps available for making Word Clouds, but Word Salad Lite does the job and (unlike the others) is free.

You can also make a Word Cloud on a computer. There are many websites available to help your students make Word Clouds. Two of the more well-known websites for Word Clouds are the following:

  1. Wordle
  2. Tagxedo

And recently I have stumbled on

  1. Jason Davies Word Cloud which seems to offer some interesting options.

How could you use this? Have your students put all of their poems into a one Word Cloud to see what ideas, themes or words appear frequently. Have your students put their reflections into a Word Cloud. Determine if their reflections are positive or negative based upon the Words that show up. Make one Word Cloud about needs and another about wants and compare. What ideas do you have?

Further resources about Word Clouds

  1. Word Clouds – Educational Tools (see page 3 for list of activities)
  2. Cybraryman Word Cloud Resources (yes, the page looks horrible, but he has a rich collection of resources)
  3. Many Eyes This site created by IBM helps with many different types of data visualization beyond Word Clouds. It is suitable for serious scientific work.

Pro Tip: Collect the text for a Word Cloud in another document – like a google doc – before copying and pasting it into the Word Cloud generator. If you make a mistake or want to try a different setting, you can easily find your text again without recreating it.

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4 Responses to Hungry for a Word Salad?

  1. Shary Lyssy Marshall on October 17, 2014 at 1:22 am

    Hi Robin,

    Thanks for this post on word clouds! At a glance, they look like decorative tools for word play, but in fact they are displaying data in an interesting and very different way.

    I’m going to share your post with teachers at my school; thanks for creating and sharing! 🙂

  2. Louise van Steveninck on October 23, 2014 at 5:32 am

    Hi Robin,
    Thank you for this post, it’s really interesting to see ideas for using word clouds- and alternatives too.
    We used Wordle and Words salad recently for 2 projects, both of them were ‘getting to know me’/ transition to MS activities.
    For 1 students made a word cloud about elements of their cultures that are important to them – places, food, people, celebrations, rituals, characteristics etc. – it was one of the culminating pieces in their ‘Visible and Invisible Culture’ unit. It was so interesting to see what they picked out as important to them (not just the things we associate with France – Eiffel tower, escargots- for example!)
    The other project was adjectives describing themselves and their friends. This was part of my English enrichment course (EAL focused) and the ‘Who are you?’ unit plus it helped with their work on characters for their book study in literacy class.
    I learnt so much about my students!
    The only negative feedback I got was that students didn’t like the ‘watermark’ /name that you cannot remove from Word Salad Lite.

    • Robin Montgomery on October 24, 2014 at 8:45 am

      Thanks for your comments, Louise. Great activities. Would love to see some samples of the work.

      Yes, watermark, sigh…..

  3. Kim Cofino on November 9, 2014 at 6:31 am

    Love the idea of word clouds as data! Great way to view them and apply them in lots of different ways!


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