There are lots of things we can try and do in the classroom to inspire the use of descriptive language and get the children to think creatively about words. Much has been posted about using web based applications such as Wordle in a number of different ways. There are a number of uses for it listed at the excellent Ideas to Inspire website and the ever wonderful Tim Rylands blogged about using it creatively just recently. it’s a tool you can use in all sorts of ways. Pop it on the IWB and use it as a word bank. Get pupils to create one with all the things they remember about a recent topic (easy way to see how much they remember). Make a word mat. The list goes on.
One of the things I like to do in Wordle is to change the colour scheme by creating a custom pallette - an simple enough thing to do and something that can really make a difference to the way you Wordle appears. An array of greens and browns for writing on a forest theme. A collection of different blues for a watery theme. Check out the image above to find out more. Also, check out WordItOut. Not as many fonts as Wordle but it does look as if it’s aimed at the educational sector. Worth a look at least
But enough of Wordle! There’s so much other great stuff out there that we could be using to. For younger pupils (although older ones like it to) you can make pictures out of Word Art words and letters or import an image into PowerPoint or Publisher and use the word art and interesting fonts to help create a shape poem. For the one example above (created in PowerPoint 2007 but a similar idea can be created using 2003) I downloaded and installed free fonts that I felt would work well – Sweetleaf for the leaves and one called cheap fire for ‘Night fell’. Phrases and words were just rotated and transformed to fit the image.
My final offering for today is Textorizer – there’s a version that runs online or you can download the application to run on your own computer. It works quite simply – you choose your image paste in you text and create. You have options to change the size of font, font used, how faded the image is behind the writing in the menu on the left hand side and the website really helps you get started. I think the results look amazing – fabulous blown up on a display. I envisage using it in a similar way to Tim Ryland’s previously mentioned Wordle idea but I’m sure you can think of other things to do with it – just have a go!