In my particular scenario, I had second graders conduct research on an African American of their choice for Black History Month. The research portion took two class periods. Then, students were required to type up a biography that was all about their person. The typing alone took one class period. The editing, and spell-check functions came about in the following class period. Then, students were able to copy their text from Microsoft Word, and paste it into the Wordle website.
One thing worth noting is that the Wordle website requires a Java plug in. Thus, if you're working on Mozilla Firefox, through a Macintosh platform, then you'll likely need to make sure that Java is installed on all computers, prior to having students create their Wordle. One more thing trouble that I just encountered is that Safari and Wordle don't get along too well either. When using Wordle in Safari, the layout will change randomly without so much as a click. This could also be from user-error, as I use a Macintosh with a touchpad as opposed to a mouse.
Here's How It Works:
- Start by going to www.Wordle.net
- Click "Create" in order to begin the process of creating your own Wordle
- Type or past your text into the first box. There are other options for inserting Blog feeds, del.icio.us tags, and things of that nature, however for education purposes, I've chosen to stick with the basic text option.
- It may take up to a minute for your original Wordle to appear. Once you original Wordle loads, you're able to choose from the following menu options: edit, language, font, layout and color.
- Edit: allows you to undo or redo an action.
- Language: you can change the case of words (uppercase or lowercase). It also gives you endless options on different types (languages) of words that you can remove from the Wordle creation. You can also use this tool to show word counts for each word, which can be fun to analyze as it shows students just how frequently they use certain words in their writing.
- Font: the font gives you a total of 32 options. This is one of students' most favorite things to change on Wordle as there is a font called "Grilled Cheese". That being said, it's important to note that there is also a font called "Sexsmith", which has the potential to generate a response from a few class clowns every now and then.
- Layout: this feature allows the user to change the direction of the words. Choices include: any which way, horizontal, mostly horizontal, half and half, mostly vertical and vertical. In addition, the user can choose to have the words arranged in alphabetical order, and decide whether to have the rounder or straighter edges on the words.
- Color: last, and most creatively is the ability to change the color of the Wordle. This is a bittersweet function. Bitter in the sense that the majority of schools likely restrict printing to black and white only. Sweet for those schools that do have access to color printing. One way to compensate for the black and white option is to have students color their Wordle after it is printed. This can prove to be great fun, especially for younger, elementary-aged students. In the color option one can choose from an area of color variations, each of which include between 2 and 5 colors per palette (BW, WB, Ghostly, Indian Earthy, Firenze, Chilled Summer, Blue Meets Orange, Kindled, Shooting Star, Organic Carrot, Milk Paints, Moss Heat, yramirP). Each palette varies in both color and intensity. If one does not see their preferred palette, then they have the option to create their own. The user also has the option to change the variation of the colors used; choices include: a little variation, some, lots or wild variation.
- When the design is complete, and you're ready to print, simply select the print option at the bottom of the page. After clicking "print", you'll get a security warning message that states: "The applet has requested access to the printer. Do you want to allow this action?". When this appears, simply click "OK", for if you select "Cancel", then you will be unable to print your newly created Wordle.
The drawbacks of Wordle are as follows:
- Printing the Wordle is a multi-click process, as you must check a box when selecting the print option, prior to getting to the printer menu.
- Wordle can't be saved. That is to say that Wordle creations can't be saved to a disk. Instead, you can opt to post them so that anyone on the World Wide Web may see them.
- Wordle can't be emailed. You can email a link to the completed Wordle, but you can't log in to edit it.