Monday, 17 September 2012

Using Word Clouds on the 1st Day...

Word clouds have been quite popular in ELT classrooms for some time and I also like using them for different purposes (which I will be writing about in my coming posts) since most students find them fun. 
In this post, I will be sharing with you “Me in a Cloud”, an icebreaker in which you can use a word cloud to introduce yourself. There are many FREE online word cloud generators such as Wordle, and ABCya, but my favorite one is Word it Out since you can easily download or print your word cloud and then use it in your classes in the way you like.

To play “Me in a Cloud”, you need to first generate a word cloud similar to the one below. The following word cloud is generated on Wordit Out. I just typed some words/phrases that describe me and thus play an important role in my life and the following cloud was created the moment I clicked on Word it Out button. You may click on “random settings” or “redraw” to change how your cloud looks, if you like. You may then save, download, e-mail or print the word cloud.

After the word cloud is ready, photocopy the word cloud or take a print-out which is large enough for all students to see. Ask students to make predictions about yourself, looking at the words and phrases on the word cloud, and then tell if their predictions are true or false. At this point, for example, you might have a dialogue similar to the one below:  

Students: “You can speak Spanish, Italian, German and Dutch.”
Teacher:  “I can speak German and Dutch but I cannot speak Spanish and Italian.”
Students: “You have cats and dogs at home.”

Teacher: “I don’t have any pets but I love them all.”
After you introduce yourself, you might want to ask students to create a word cloud similar to yours (either a hand-written one in the same lesson or one prepared on Word it Out to be brought to class later).

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