I spent yesterday with the high school English Department at Depew Union Free School District. These folks invited me in to help them approach formative assessment as a process that leads to instructional improvement rather than a product that leads to grades. They’ve begun exploring the 6+1 Traits of Writing, considering what their middle school colleagues have been up to, and looking to new tools for support.
Wordle was a big hit yesterday.
I introduced it as a tool that could be used to support the development of better Word Choice in writing, but there are probably a hundred different ways to maximize Wordle’s potential. For instance, this is what happens when I drop the New York State English Language Arts standards into Wordle. Doing so provides us a whole new way of talking and thinking about the document. Theresa Gray suggested using it to explore important historical speeches, and some of the teachers that I was working with yesterday uploaded the first chapter of Catcher in the Rye, eager to share the work with students in class and follow the conversations that would unfold from there.
Writers could use Wordle to check for redundancy in their pieces as well. My eleven year old daughter uploaded her blog, and within a matter of minutes, was able to identify the most frequently used word within it. Really. No. Really. The teachers that I worked with yesterday had other ideas as well. They plan to ask students to create Wordle white papers for their completed writing pieces, knowing they will serve as great introductions to their work. They also thought to use it as a way to identify high frequency vocabulary words and terms in different types of text.
How about you? How could you use Wordle? How do you?