Thursday, June 30, 2011

Teacher's Gift - Wordle with students thoughts

When my kids are preparing to sing the old song "No more pencils, no more books, no more teacher's dirty looks" I struggle with what to give their teachers as year end gifts. I personally try to avoid traditional teacher's gifts like mugs or pens or even gift cards. I will admit I do use gift cards as my last resort because I know teachers spend so much of there own money to stock their classrooms and this gives them a little to spend on themselves.


This year my daughter had 2 new teachers so they both got my Name art. I think this will be an annual tradition for all her teachers. My son on the other hand, will always be two years behind her with the same teachers; therefore, I have to think of new and exciting things for them.

So for my son's teacher this year, I asked permission to talk to the kids in his class one morning while they were signing in. I asked each of them to give me three words or phrases to describe their teacher. Some struggled a little bit but with come guidance, they all were able to give me something . Some were really cute, like "I like her hair" but most said what they felt in their hearts (just like 4 and 5 year old kids do). 

Note: In case you were wondering what the blurry gap was in all of the images, I blurred out the name of our school. 

I typed every word the kids gave me (even the repeats) into a word file. I then went to the Wordle site and created a new Wordle. For those of you who don't know Wordle, it is a free program that creates word clouds.

A few tips when entering the words into Wordle. In order for there to be a space between two words, use the ~ symbol. So for "I like her hair" I had to enter "I~like~her~hair". If you enter a space, the words will appear separately.  Every time a word appears/is entered, the word get larger in the cloud. In other words, the larger the word, the more times it appears in your word file. So I entered the teacher's name the most, followed by the school name next.

I copy and pasted all the words the kids said into the 'create' page on the Wordle site and selected 'go'. Wordle creates a custom word cloud with a random design. The best part is, you can customize almost every aspect of design, including the background, fonts, directions the words appear, etc. The possibilities are endless.

One thing I do not like about Wordle (or perhaps I haven't figured it out) is you cannot save the image as a jpeg or giff. I had to print the file to PDF in order to save it.

I color printed the file on photo paper and framed it in an 8x10 frame.

I love that it is personal to the teacher and gives her an amazing perspective of what the children think about her.

I realize this is too late for you for this year, but perhaps it might be something to do next year. My kids teachers know I write this blog so I didn't want to ruin the surprise.

What do you think?

Stephanie
Linking to some great parties including: Story of A2Z

13 comments:

  1. That is a great idea!! I think teachers often just want to know that someone notices their hard work, and this is a more permanent way to let them know rather than just writing it in a card. I love Wordle, but I didn't know how to include phrases - thanks for the tip!!

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  2. I use wordle to teach with; this would be a great gift for a teacher (much like myself!)

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  3. Stephanie if you want to save the file as a jpeg I suggest using Tagxedo. It's just like Wordle - but better. You can even make your word cloud into shapes.
    See - I have a link to what I do with word clouds - http://room-moms-rock.blogspot.com/2010/12/holiday-flour-sacks-with-tagxedo.html

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  4. Hi Stephanie.
    Just stopped by to let you know that I featured your post today over at Scribbles and Swirls. I would love for you to check it out and hope you would like to follow me as well.
    http://tamiscribblesandswirls.blogspot.com/2011/11/have-you-checked-out-wordle.html

    Thanks for the inspiration!
    ~Tami

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  5. thanks for the wordle hints! i've been using wordle for a long time- and had NO CLUE how to keep words together in a phrase! appreciate it ;)

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  6. Thank you for the idea! I think I will borrow it :)
    To turn a Wordle result into a jpg file, I recommend to use FastStone Capture (a downloadable software, free version), to capture everything you want. I use it a lot!

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  7. Awesome!! I'm gonna have to do this! Thanks for the tip on Wordle, I'm just trying to figure it all out.
    One thing, if you have Photoshop, you can open the PDF in photoshop and then save it as a jpg. :)

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  8. That's very great thoughts about teacher gift i like it.

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  9. Thanks for the tips on how to keep your sentences together using the ~ symbol. I did this last year and used it as gifts tags for teachers for their end of school year presents.

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  10. I absolutely LOVE this!!! I cant wait to do this for my daughters teacher this year!!

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  11. Love this. I just made one and made a screen shot (using print screen) and then copied to paint and saved as JPEG. Turned out great!

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  12. What a great idea! Thanks for sharing.

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