There's so many ways word clouds can be used in the MFL classroom, here are a few of my favourites.
1. Word Races - Generate a word cloud filled with key vocabulary you want to review.
Print out one cloud for each pair.
In pairs each student takes a highlighter (must be different colours).
The teacher calls out a term in English.
The two partners race to highlight that term first on the paper.
The student that marks the correct term first gets a point.
If a student marks an incorrect term they lose a point.
Continue the game until all terms have been called out.
The partner with the most points at the end wins.
2. Categorize Starter - Get students to categorize the words in the cloud. You could ask them to list adjectives, verbs, connectives, nouns. You could use a mix of different tenses and get them to categorise by tense. Or, as a revision exercise create a cloud with a mix of tricky vocab across all units and get them to categorize by theme. As an add on you could then ask them to create a sentence with each piece of vocabulary.
3. Translations - Prepare several translations. Paste the Spanish phrases into the word cloud and give students the English translations. using the words in the cloud the students complete the translations.
4. Writing - Challenge students to write a sentence/paragraph using as many words from the cloud as they can. Longest piece wins.
5. Writing prompt - Use the word cloud as a prompt for writing activities. Students are encouraged to use the vocabulary in the cloud to help them create an extended writing piece. Give them certain parameters such as; 'use at least 10 words from the cloud' or 'use at least one word from the cloud in each sentence'.
6. Listening - Paste the transcript of a listening text into a word cloud generator. Using the word cloud get students to predict what might come up in the track.
Alternatively, paste a mixture of words that do appear in the listening track along with words that don't. As students listen they mark off the vocabulary that they hear.
Both are good ways to approach a tricky listening before asking them to complete the comprehension activities.
7. Story Exchange - Have students type original stories and then input them into word clouds.
Each student must exchange the word cloud generated by his/her text with a classmate, and then the classmate must write the story that they think their classmate wrote.
Project the word clouds one at a time to the class, and work together to orally re-tell the story that they think was originally written by the student
8. WHO AM I? - Create a series of word clouds generated from the biographies of celebrities or even descriptions of characters from a familiar novel. You could do this by using teacher or student-created descriptions of the celebrity. Show each word cloud to the class and have them guess to which celebrity it belongs!
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