Using word clouds in class – a lesson plan

This lesson outline  was produced during  the SEETA course on EasyWeb 2.0 tools run by Nik Peachey – many more lessons and lesson ideas can be found there but here is mine:

The text was to be chosen randomly (in case you were wondering why I chose this particular one).

Text source: A news item from the BBC website with the following unlikely topic and title:

Missing San Francisco sea Lions “off Oregon”

Level Intermediate

Broad AimsWriting a short news report; editing and improving a piece of writing.

Pre-writing stage

  1. Show the headline for some quick guesswork and any vocabulary needed +/- show the related video with or without sound
  2. Show the wordle and get groups to brainstorm ideas for an article using ALL the words

Writing & Reading

  1. Groups write 1st draft of article in groups
  2. Show video with sound on or off (from same link) and ask Ss to edit/improve article ( but you can move this stage to the pre-writing if you like)
  3. Groups read out or post out their articles on the wall of the class for other groups to visit and read and comment on.
  4. Individually Ss read news story online or on handout and compare.
  5. Class votes which story closest to original or which story they liked best.
  6. Class does any comprehension work you think suited to level of class for gist, scanning, etc
  7. Groups or pairs do some language focused work on article. They can choose and highlight any words or phrases they liked from original article and notice how they were used; they can be invited to compare with own use of vocab and make any comments. They can declare which ones they could ‘steal’ from the article in order to improve their own.
  8. Groups write final draft of own article.

Further related activities

Groups can be invited to choose from amongst this list of follow- ups.

  1. Act out and videotape interviews with some sea lion experts
  2. Do some web search and find more facts or details to pad out original article
  3. Improve their own articles by recombining groups and doing some rewriting
  4. Improvise the script for the video (if you have not used it so far, show it without sound) Students can add voices by using some other tool which allows you to do voiceovers  – though it might be hard or impossible to download BBC videos. Still, this can be done perhaps with other videos
  5. Individuals research for information on the web (even in their own language) about some other animal’s migrating habits to create a similar text – they can be asked to create a wordle from their text which they can bring to class for a follow up lesson.

Comments and more ideas?

I hope you do explore the SEETA course which is still available for viewing

Related Posts by members of my PLN


Related post on this blog

Tech Tools & Pedagody II – Word Clouds

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11 replies

  1. This is an excellent way to improve writing and comprehension skills. Maybe students could be asked to deliver their article as a piece of news on the TV (I mean orally) with the seriosity and confidence of a TV speaker, this could help improve oral skills (maybe using a famous TV speaker’s name, like PPDA or Claire Chazal in France).
    Wordle is a very good tool to enhance creativity and pleasure with the language, together with collaboration and sharing : key incentives to learning.

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