Monday, March 02, 2009

Wordle the (Yellow) Wallpaper

Kristin Leclaire shares a recent day in her classroom:
So how do we work through the story in a constructivist way without sacrificing efficient interpretation-seeking?

First, we made a list as a class of all of our questions. They had...a lot.

Then, every student picked one question that intrigued him/her and spent a few minutes brainstorming possible responses and follow-up questions. At the end of this brainstorming, they seemed even angrier and more confused. Some of them were holding their foreheads as if their brains physically hurt.

What happened next? Wordle to the rescue, and this is no exaggeration . . . So, we took "The Yellow Wallpaper," page by page, and wordled it. And here’s what happened . . .
Head on over and read what happened, but here’s her summation:
It wasn’t just fun and fluffy; it sparked intense discussion and allowed us a concrete way to analyze abstract, elusive themes. Just as the design of the wallpaper emerged to the narrator, the design of the story revealed itself to us.


  1. Karl,

    That is such a great activity. I have been wondering about practical applications for wordle. I will be teaching a debate class next quarter for GT students and have used wordle for some of the speeches that we will analyze - for example - I Have a Dream. It is amazing, but still searching for the practical side. Thank you for this example.

  2. This is great. I teach fifth grade and we use wordle to analyze our conversations from literature circles. We use tiny chat as a source to scribe the conversation. Then we save it and drop it into wordle. The students are fascinated by the words that pop-up. It has created a great lead for how to enhance our discussions and see when discussions are strong and meaningful.

  3. Brendan--That's such a great idea! I often feel that I don't give the outer circle's blog enough attention after a fishbowl discussion, and this is a creative way to bring their comments into a follow-up discussion. I will definitely try it when we fishbowl The Great Gatsby and The Kite Runner. Thanks!