Lesson Plan

Wordle: Determining Importance

Students will recall unit vocabulary and choose those that are most important by creating a Wordle word cloud
Kathi K.
Elementary Technology Teacher/Coach
Wedgwood Elementary School
Sewell, NJ
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My Grades 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
My Subjects English Language Arts, Math, Science, Arts

Students will be able to...

  • Review and understand unit vocabulary
  • Work collaboratively with a peer to discuss vocabulary
  • Determine the importance or relevance of vocabulary words in relation to a unit topic
  • Create a Wordle as a visual representation of unit vocabulary
English Language Arts
Social Studies
Grades 2 - 6
All Notes
Teacher Notes
Student Notes


Activity: Conversing

Put students in groups of 2 or 3.  Praise students for ALL that they have learned during a unit that you have almost finished.  Show artifacts, books, projects, and remind students about all the new knowledge they have gained.  

Tell students that you are giving them a challenge to see which team can remember the most vocabulary words or phrases that had to do with the unit.  You can let them use resources from around the room if you'd like.  Give each student a paper, pencil, and a time limit!



Activity: Conversing

Provide paper.  Give students a set time limit (10-15 minutes) to brainstorm as many vocabulary words from a unit that you have just taught.  (ie: For Social Studies, I used the Underground Railroad Unit)

- After lists are written, ask students to discuss which words are most important to them.  Which words really capture the essence or theme of the unit?  They should put a heart next to their top five choices.  They will need to defend/share their reasons with the whole class at the conclusion of this lesson.

- Ask students to revisit those top five and put stars next to those they feel are the THREE most important of those.  They should put a circle around the top three.

-  Finally, ask students to choose the ONE word from those three that is THE most important word to them.  Again, they will need to share their rationale for this selection.


Activity: Other — TEACHER MODELING

- At this point, the teacher will demonstrate/model how to use the Wordle word cloud builder.  Each word on the list should be typed in once, hitting enter after each submission.  Words that had JUST hearts should be typed twice, words that had CIRCLES should be typed three times, and the word with the star should be typed FIVE times.  (Tip: To keep short phrases together, a tilda ~ should be used between words, such as Underground~Railroad.)

- When the create button is hit, the students will see that the words that were typed more often appear larger than the other words.  For example, the word with the star will be five times larger than all of the words that were typed once.  Wordle gives a visual representation of the importance that students places on the vocabulary words.  Show students how to 'randomize', which will create different word cloud patterns and colors.  


Activity: Creating

Distribute computers and have the students repeat the activity.  They can choose their own layout and color combination.


Activity: Presenting

After printing, have students present their final Wordles and their rationales for why they chose the words that they did.  Encourage class discussion as a great way to review all of the vocabulary words from your unit!