Seeing as these first two weeks of my student teaching have been filled with little else other than grading, copying, planning, and drinking coffee, I have found various ways to entertain myself that are within the limits of the school district’s relentless blocking system.
One of those is Wordle. I first learned about the cool website last fall from another cooperating teacher. Basically what you do is paste in a bunch of text and it orients the words into a “word cloud.” The size of the words depend on the frequency of use (the more a word is used, the bigger it is). You can learn a lot about a poem/song/story by making one of these. I am definitely going to use this program in my class as a visual writing prompt. Here are some cool ones that I made yesterday.
This is made from Dylan Thomas’ poem “Do Not Go Gentle”
This one is “America,” by Allen Ginsberg
Incidentally, you can also put in a blog’s url (or any website that has an RSS feed) and it will do it for you. Here is Sartorially Inclined.
(I believe it only does it on the first page or the first X-number of posts, so it will change based on when you do it).