Thursday, July 26, 2012

Wordle for the Classroom

As I was preparing a training last night working on a Mission Statement for my Writing Project group, I came across a wonderful website called Wordle (  It let's you create a Word Cloud from text that you provide.  The clouds give greater prominence to the words that appear more frequently in a text.  You can even change your clouds with different fonts, layouts, and color schemes.  I tried the website with this blog to see what it would look like.  Here is my Wordle I created:

I was very interested in how this came out, and started thinking how I could use this program in the classroom.  I think it would be a great project at the beginning of the year with my students.  While we work on creating Classroom Rules, creating a Mission Statement, going over Your Job/My Job activities, why not take all our words that are important to the class and create a Wordle to display in the classroom.  This can remind us of things that are important to us.  Possibly, later in the year students can take some of their work and create individual Wordles, sharing words that are important to them.  This would work well in addition to their autobiography and Remember When poems.  Has anyone used Wordle for projects in your classroom?

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Summer of Travel

Wow, first I have to say that I was fortunate enough to have another INCREDIBLE summer of travel!  I have been on the road for a month, which is why I haven't been posting. But, I am excited to be home and getting back to the world of teaching.  And boy am I thrown in quickly...I finally got home on Sunday and I headed into school on Monday.  This weekend I am excited to head to the Leadership Retreat for the Tampa Bay Area Writing Project, an organization I truly believe has transformed me as a teacher of Writing.  I will be spending my last two weeks of summer vacation in trainings.  Next week I am on the District Committee for the new Reading Adoption.  The week after I will be providing training to all new 2nd grade teachers in the county in the area of Reading and Writing.  So I'm currently in planning mode and working on ideas for the first two weeks of school.  Anyone have amazing ideas to share with new teachers?  I plan on sharing the many activities I complete with my students.  Well, while I get back into school mode, I thought I would share a few pictures from my summer of travel around Europe and out west.  Since travel is classroom theme, the more I see of the world, the more I have to share with my students!

Trip #1:  Zurich, Switzerland; Vaduz, Lichtenstein; Munich, Germany; Salzburg and Vienna, Austria; Prague, Czech Republic; and Amsterdam, Netherlands

Heidiland, Switzerland at the Heidi House
with a copy of the Heidi book for my classroom!

"I Have Confidence" the road Maria sings
 and dances in the Sound of Music

Bus Trip from Salzburg, Austria

Mozart Dinner Theater

My favorite city of the trip: Salzburg

Eagle's Nest

Vienna Opera House

Charles Bridge in Prague, Czech Republic

Trip #2: Exploring the West: Sedona, the Grand Canyon, and Las Vegas

Verde Canyon Railroad

Out of Africa Wildlife Park

Bell Rock in Sedona

Yoga on the Rock

Chapel on the Hill

The Grand Canyon

 After such an amazing summer of travel, I cannot wait to get back in the classroom and start working with a new group of second graders!