Simon and I worked through a few of these last week, and I am going to share his cat project and walk you through a few simple steps on how to use Tagxedo. I had to download silverlight (a free plug-in) to get Tagxedo working.
First, choose a shape. Tagxedo has gobs of shape choices. Simon chose cat because he adores his pet!
Hint: If you want to upload your own shape, try using silhouettes.
Next, go to LOAD and click to add words to the large box.
Simon and I took turns adding all the words we could think of that relate to his cat: curious, adventurous, naughty, purring, scared, hunter, hissing, fangs, wild, cute, cuddly, vicious, claws, playful, cat, kitten, pet, crazy, whiskers, bouncing, black, sweet, furry, climbing, balancing, meowing.
You can change the font styles, if you want. You can also choose your color scheme by clicking on theme. Simon wanted his to be black and green!
Simon loved his final product and published it by making it the background on his desktop computer. Another positive writing experience!
Ways to Play with Tagxedo
If you want to use Tagxedo in your homeschool, here are some fun ways to get started! I'm sure your children will have some ideas of their own, too.
Choose an object and ONLY use adjectives to describe the object. This is a fun way to introduce or review a part of speech.
Choose a word and generate gobs of synonyms for that word. This may be a good time to teach your student how to use a thesaurus.
This sample turns the word "walk" into a big fat ball of synonyms!
Alternative Book Report
Book reports aren't really our thing, but this would be a wonderful way for your student to rememeber and record last book she read. Words to add: names of characters, conflicts, theme of the book, important events, setting, etc.
Your student could also choose one character in the story and make a word cloud about that character. A student could even make a small book with one page for each character in a story.
After viewing a movie or a documentary, create a Tagxedo word cloud that represents the movie.
If your children memorize poems, they may enjoy turning the poems they are memorizing into word clouds. Here is an example for Simon's current poem, "How Doth the Little Crocodile?"
P.S. This also helps them memorize the poem since they have to type the words in!
Bible Memory Verse
Use the same idea posted above for poetry memorization.
Ask your student to think of the following: gifts, talents, personality traits, interests, favorite things. Type the words into Tagxedo and make a self portrait word cloud.
Document a Field Trip
After you go on a field trip, have your student add words to the generator that summarize the field trip. Where was it? What did he learn? Who went with you?
Use an outline of a continent, country, or state and fill it in with words that describe the place. Here is an example for Indiana. This would be fantastic for a geography fair project!
Thank You Card
Use Tagxedo to create an artistic image for the front of a thank you note. Continue the writing lesson by writing a few sentences inside the card.
Summarize a Historical Person, Event, or Time Period
Studying Ancient Egypt? Add words like pyramid, mummy, hieroglyphs, and Tutankhamen to your word cloud. Add as many as you can think of. Be sure to choose or upload a shape that suits your project.
Is your student studying an animal? Historical time period? Ask him to choose a generic shape and to add words about his topic of study without adding the actual topic. When you look at your student's finished word cloud, can you guess what he was writing about?
This is what Simon and I did with cat. Choose a topic and generate as many words as possible for that subject. The words can be verbs, nouns, adjectives–it doesn't matter as long as they are related to the main subject. Simon likes this option and chose "water" as a subject. His finished product is below.
Make a Book
Combine pages of states, countries, or animals and create a book.
What ways will you play with Tagxedo?