Word Clouds are fun, pretty to look at, and a great learning tool. If you haven’t used this type of generator before, do yourself a favor. It’s as much fun to create the graphical cloud than seeing the final product.

What is a Word Cloud Generator?

These tools generate a “word cloud” from the text you add into the text box. The words most frequently used are more prominently displayed than ones that aren’t used as often. With most of these websites, you can change the fonts, colors, and layouts.

On websites, the word clouds are generally called tag clouds generated from tags or text clouds. The principle is the same, the most frequent words are displayed more boldly and in larger font sizes than the rest.

Why Use One In the Classroom?

A word cloud visually displays text in a way that words in tabular form or list cannot. The more a word is used the bolder the text becomes and the more it stands out. Therefore, patterns and trends are seen that isn’t as obvious or could be missed in a list or paragraph of words.

5 Benefits in using word clouds:

  • Word clouds add clarity to text. Focusing only on the most prominent words, a person can understand what the text is about.
  • It is an impressive way to inspire learners to evaluate what they usually deem as “boring text.”
  • It intrigues a person to read more and to decipher the smaller, less frequent words as if the words are hiding a secret.
  • Word clouds are easy to share, a “must-have” in today’s social media environment.
  • It is an effective and fun communication tool.

How to Use Easily and Effectively

A generator is an impressive tool to improve language and writing skills. In addition, it helps with

  • Writing Assessment. A student can evaluate the essay or writing project content by creating a word cloud with the main points or outline. It enables them to self-assess their thought process for the writing assignment. They can compare their ideas with the most frequent word in the tag cloud. It will show them if their ideas are focused toward a topic or scattered without coming together to make a point.
  • Improve Vocabulary. Learning new words and how to use them are essential to improve language skills or learn a new language. By creating word clouds of antonyms or synonyms expands the student vocabulary. It also teaches the learner how to say the same thing using different words. A valuable tool for most writers, from class assignments and essays to freelancing to writing novels.
  • Thinking Activity. One can remove the identifying topic words in a cloud.  The remaining words become a puzzle to solve. Use it as an activity for the student to solve the subject of the cloud without the keyword.
  • Before and After Lesson. Students can create a word cloud about what they know about a subject before the lesson. They can even pose questions they have about the topic. After the lesson, the student creates a new text cloud using what they now know. Comparing the two clouds the students can see what they have learned about a given topic.
  • Assess Understanding. These clouds of words can help teachers and students visually assess what the student understood from what the teacher explained. Have the student create a word picture rephrasing what the teacher taught. Then compare the student’s cloud with the teacher’s created directly from the lesson text.

There are many ways to use a text cloud generator in the classroom. Other ways to use it is as a getting-to-know tool, finding the keywords on a topic, highlighting points, evaluating data, or to emphasize key points.

List of Word Cloud Generators

We have created a list of word cloud generators to use in your classroom.

  • com is a simple printable word cloud generator for pre-K to grade 5 kids. Copy and paste at least three words created in a word document or Google Docs into the text box. The appearance of the tag cloud can be altered using the graphical buttons.
  • Jason Davies is for the geeks and math lovers. Its features include a layout algorithm with choices of an Archimedean or Rectangular spiral and the orientation degrees. Here is a link explaining how to use the Jason Davies Word Cloud Generator.
  • TagCrowd doesn’t require you to register before using the tool. Upload a file or copy and paste your URL (creates a tag cloud of the page’s text) or words into the box. Visually its limited but it does offer to add the number of how often a word features in a text. Click the ‘Visualize’ button to generate your tag cloud after you’ve set your options. Save as a PDF, print it or embed it on a website.
  • Tagxedo generates word clouds from famous speeches, articles, slogans, news, and The free version provides at least 30 themes, fonts, and shapes.
  • Tricklar provides the data from top media houses around the world. Simply choose the time, topic, and country, and it generates a good looking cloud. The feature of adding time to the text  cloud creates a fourth dimension with options like trends, points of interest, the development of a story, momentum and sentiment.
  • VIsualThesaurus is an interactive thesaurus and dictionary that creates word maps. It helps the student find the right word, hear the pronunciation of a word, the meaning of the word, and more.
  • com (Tagul) generator creates a word cloud that you can use on products. Simply upload the image of how you want your word cloud to look like. It adjusts the cloud according to the colors of your uploaded image.
  • com has a popup wizard that guides first-time users in creating a word cloud. Create a word cloud with a clickable link or customize the themes, color, fonts, and shapes of the tag cloud.
  • WordItOut supports emoji and changing the colors of individual words, rank, and Another feature is the ability to create phrases with the ‘~’ symbol that is replaced by a single space. For example, ‘Wall~Street’ becomes Wall Street in the cloud.

How do you use word clouds in your classroom? Do you have a favorite word cloud generator?

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