Words as Art – Wonderful Word Clouds!

Word clouds are fun to make for holidays or anytime of year! This is a great project for home schoolers, or any class with access to computers. A word cloud is a random arrangement of words, in this case a passage of writing where common words such as “and”, “the”, “if”, etc. are omitted and the text is then arranged in random order, with the words that appear more often being larger than the others. Word clouds are not “readable” in a literal sense, but you can usually get the idea of what a passage is about just by scanning the largest words!

I made these samples using two great websites, Wordle and Biblegateway…. here’s how I did it:

1. Go to Biblegateway where you can search for a passage using keywords such as “shepherds” or “angels”, or you can search by topic or just type in the address if you know it. You can also compare the passage in different versions, such as the NIV or New King James.

2. Select and copy the text you want.

3. Then, go to Wordle, paste your text into the empty box, and click “create”.

4. From there, you can play with the layout (vertical, horizontal, every which way, etc.), change the font or colors, or just keep clicking the “randomize” button at the bottom until you get a combination you like.

Word clouds are unique designs you can use in a variety of ways. Some of my students used them to make Christmas cards for their buddy classes and we’ll be making these in January using Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech. You can also type your own words into Wordle following a theme like the word cloud below.

Have a Merry Christmas and a Creative New Year!

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9 Responses to Words as Art – Wonderful Word Clouds!

  1. Kathy December 20, 2010 at 4:35 pm #

    Your Christmas wordles are wonderful. Our school made these word clouds from saint reports in October and they were really nice. I like how your examples were taken from Bible passages.

  2. apples love oranges December 20, 2010 at 5:52 pm #

    great resource! Thanks for sharing…I had never heard of the website before

  3. Eleanor Vander Meulen December 20, 2010 at 8:27 pm #

    So glad you posted this…I've done this before with Bible verses, but have long since forgot where I did it! I was thinking some time ago that I would like to give each student in my school a page to list 5 (positive) words about school (can be adjectives, favourite subjects, teacher names, funny moments etc.) and I would compile them into a word cloud and well…from here on in I haven't quite decided. Maybe paint it as a mural on a wall. Thanks again. A blessed Christmas to you!

  4. laura minala November 24, 2012 at 7:49 am #

    incredible… i even if i do it , it will not
    look nearly as good as this

  5. win January 4, 2013 at 5:59 am #

    excellent — just looking at it inspired me :-)

  6. Michelle M May 19, 2013 at 1:44 pm #

    I made these on Tagxedo.com using adjectives the students wrote about each other. (I can’t use Bible verses since I’m a public school teacher.) I gave each student a class list, and for homework they had to write a positive adjective next to each classmates’ name. Then in class, each student wrote his/her name on a piece of lined paper, and we set them out along the tables. Each student took their homework list and added their words to those pages, so that each student had one page with 32 adjectives. I took them home, typed them into the website and made word clouds to decorate for Open House. They LOVED them and can’t wait until I take them down so they can have them! =)

    • Cheryl Trowbridge May 19, 2013 at 10:13 pm #

      What a great way to use Tagxedo, Michelle! I hope others will see your idea and try it with their classes… that’s the kind of thing that kids will save forever! Thanks for sharing!!

      • Michelle M May 25, 2013 at 6:54 am #

        Thanks, Cheryl! They were a big hit at Open House with the parents! When I took them down the other day, many of my students held them and read them over and over! I had backed them with red construction paper on which I typed an explanation of how they were made, so parents could see that these were words the kids came up with for each other. They all said they wanted to keep them forever…..it was such a powerful project! =)

        • Cheryl Trowbridge May 27, 2013 at 9:42 pm #

          I love this, Michelle! What a treasured keepsake for your students!!