How to create and use word Clouds

How to create and use word Clouds

Variety and novelty in English lessons encourage learners to be more engaged. On the contrary, monotonous tasks, no matter how useful they are, cause boredom. How to bring variety without too many changes in the process of learning vocabulary? Use word clouds.

 Word clouds are a graphical representation of words and words combinations. They can be used for:

  • vocabulary revision
  • presenting lexis
  • practicing new words
  • student’s projects.

It is just a more visually appealing way to teach vocabulary. Instead of using lists, which students are probably fed up with, make clouds. You can utilize them for word searches, making monologues and dialogues, word games, writing tasks, etc.

Here are some examples of the tasks.

Task 1

Make a story about a detective investigating a case using all the words and tell your partner  (the teacher).

Task 2

Work in pairs. Ask and answer five questions using the words.

Task 3

Give a definition of one of the words. Can your partner guess the word? Swap roles.

There are some services for creating word clouds:

Word Art

Wordle

Word clouds

I personally prefer to use Word art because it’s possible to create clouds containing collocations. As we know teaching collocations is more effective for learners. Other services just break the word pairs into single words.

Let’s see how to create word clouds using Word art. It’s quick and easy, no registration is required. So click ‘Create’ and make your cloud.

Step 1

Fill in the words or word combinations. You can type as many words as you need, even 30 or even 50. It’s possible to Capitalize letters, use the UPPER or lower case. Click ‘Options’ and opt for repetition of the words as you see in one of the pictures above or choose no repetition.

Step 2

Choose the shape of your cloud: animals, nature, people or some holidays themes. If you want to see the changes, click the red button ‘Visualize’.

For example, this charming ladybird will definitely catch kids’ interest.

Step 3

Choose a font which you like. There are more than 50 fonts to select.

Step 4

Pick out a layout: horizontal, vertical, crossing words, dancing words, slopes and random. The layout will depend on the task and the learners. Teens prefer something less ordinal and more creative. For adults, I usually make more conservative things like a horizontal layout.

Step 5

Choose a style: colours of the words and the background. If you want to change a colour of the words, click ‘Words colours’ and ‘Custom’ and add more colours to the pallette.

Step 6

To apply all the changes, press ‘Print’ or ‘Download’ your cloud and enjoy it in your lessons.

How do you use word clouds? Share in the comments, please!

Юлия Белоног

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