A meme is usually framed as a series of questions that are replicated and then transmitted virally–most often, through blogs. The questions posed within a meme may focus on anything of interest to a particular community. Following a meme as it winds its way through the web can be a lot of fun, and in the process, readers often find themselves connecting with new bloggers and their collective perspective.

Why would teachers ask students to create memes?

  • Newbie bloggers often struggle to generate content, and purposeful memes provide assistance with that.
  • Subject-specific memes could challenge readers to share their reflections about what they are reading or writing or their experiences with each of these processes.
  • Less formal memes help people get to know each other better, and most teachers ask kids to engage in icebreaker activities that are quite meme-like at the start of new courses.
  • Responding to a meme allows us to capture who we are within the frame of one moment in time. Revisiting the meme and considering how our answers have evolved helps us reflect on how we’ve grown and what has changed in the process.
  • As memes travel, they often evolve naturally. Adding this expectation and requiring students to reframe or replace certain questions with intention can add another layer of interest to the project.

A while back, Andrea Hernandez at EdTech Workshp tagged me for the Wordle Meme. At the time, I was in the midst of laptop repair (my computer fell victim to the Facebook Virus), and it’s taken me some time to get everything back in working order. I’m finally ready to respond! Here are the rules:

  • Create a Wordle from your blog’s RSS feed.
  • Blog it, and share your reactions: any surprises?
  • Tag others to do the same.
  • Link back to this post or the post where you were first tagged.
  • Share other uses you have found for Wordle.

Wanna see the results of my adventures with Wordle? Check it out. I think it’s kinda cool that “NEW” is the largest word on the map. This makes sense, as so much of what I’m experiencing is precisely that–new! The last year has found me involved in a new professional learning community, meeting new friends and colleagues, taking new risks as a writer and a blogger, and working with a whole slew of new teachers! I started a new writing community for young people, saw my daughter off to her new middle school, and set some new personal goals as well. New is exciting, and it’s also scary at times too. This year has been one of tremendous transition for me, and what isn’t new is my sense of profound gratitude for the friends and the family members who support me so well.

Which leads to the next thing I notice on my Wordle map: the word Twitter. It’s not at all surprising to me that this tool stands out significantly. Many of my new experiences have happened as a result of Twitter, or they’ve been enhanced by the community of people I’m coming to know there. Including, I imagine, most of the people who are reading this post.

I was happy to see other words standing out…words like educator and teacher and community and conversation. I notice the word love toward the upper left corner and inspiring in the lower right. I’d like to use those words more often in the coming year. I’m going to make it a point to pay attention more so that I’m able to.

I’ve used Wordle in a variety of different ways with kids and with teachers this year. I’ve also begun Wordling around with some of our English standards. Makes for great conversation. Speaking of that, I’d like to invite a few others in on this meme. Theresa, Jenn, and Mike have used Wordle in some pretty interesting ways as well, and I’d love to see what Crista, Linda, and Kate have done with this too. Consider yourself tagged, friends! Can’t wait to see what you have to share.



  1. I love using Wordle. I have used it with my 4th graders as an advance organizer. I use words and phrases important to the story or concept we will be working with. I ask the students to use the words to make sentences that then become predictions about the content. We save these and refer to them during and after our study to confirm, revise or deny the statements/predictions we made at the beginning.

    I also introduced Wordle to my university students asking them to find a way they could use it in their classrooms.

  2. What’s the Facebook Virus????
    I enjoyed seeing your wordle. And I know what you mean about Twitter. It has really created a lot of new for me as well. Speaking of twitter and new, are you going to join the 365/2009 flickr group? I thought I saw you tweeting about it. I think it will be fun.

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