Welcome to my blog, especially if you're coming to my talk on Using Graded Readers with Technology at the Macmillan Teacher's Days in either León or Ponferrada this week.
Below an image for one of the tasks I'll be suggesting, which I created by pasting text from the Macmillan reader Room 13 and other stories into Wordle:
- With a partner, pick out the 15-20 most important words, phrases, dates, names etc. from the story
- Put them into Wordle, making the most important words largest
- Share it with us and describe it to us, justifying your choices
I like the task for various reasons: it's collaborative (and therefore communicative); it requires the learners to go back to the text, to re-read it, and to select elements from it; and then make decisions about what they're going to pick out.
Sharing their work with the rest of the class (I suggest either a blog or Edmodo) is something you might once have done by hanging things on your classroom wall but posting it online means that other learners can not only see it but add comments to it: that's further interaction and further language practice.
To find out if your learners are doing their reading assignments, you could bore them with questions, but why not instead get them to prove they've read it by getting them to actually do something with the text, something they'll actually enjoy doing?
Notes on using Wordle
To get phrases to stay together, rather than splitting up into their component words, you need to replace the spaces between the words with tildes, thus:
Room~13 and the~sound~of~mad~laughter.
To increase their size, you simply need to repeat them: if you paste in Room~13 Room~13 Room~13 graveyard, for example, Room 13 will be approximately three times larger than the word graveyard.
In order to save your Wordle cloud, you will need to capture your screen (my favourite tool for that is Jing).
With Wordle you can also choose fonts and colours and so on (with a partner, also opportunity for language practice): in my example, above, I've chosen colors more or less in accord with Room 13 being a ghost story.