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How to Use Word Clouds to Inspire Higher Order Thinking

Word Clouds for Higher Order Thinking

Word Clouds Require Students to Think About Which Word(s) Should Appear "Bigger" in the Cloud. 

Word Clouds are one of my favorite tools to let students use to show me what they know. ABCYa! has a great word cloud creator that can be used on any device. This is one of the first tools I teach my students to use at the beginning of the year because it has so many great applications.

My Favorite Way to Use Word Clouds is as a Formative Assessment Tool for Unit Vocabulary

At the very end of a unit, after we have studied several standards in one topic, I like to assign a word cloud. Students have to put in the most relevant information. I've taught them that the more terms they include, the cooler their cloud looks. Some students choose to type sentences about what they have learned while others use it with bullet points or definitions. Any of these methods are great and lead to really high quality word clouds. 

As you can see in Step 2, I chose to type a list of terms. Then I went back and typed "Matter" again so that it would show up bigger in my word cloud. Matter was the unit title so it fit with the assignment requirement. 

Use the Word Cloud Editing Tools to Make it Your Own. Creativity Counts!

ABCYa! has really great editing tools for students of any age. I usually have to give my students a time limit for editing because they want to see every possible variation. When they are finally happy with the Word Cloud, it is really easy to save. I usually have them upload it to a class Padlet, but if you have another system for collecting the final images then just direct students how to turn their assignment in. 

I recently started creating 5E Science Units, and in the "Elaboration" phase, Word Clouds are one option for an independent project. If you're interested in checking out these resources, click on the picture below to see one of the Physical Science Units. The best part is that they are completely paperless!

Interested in BONUS content? Check out my free email course for technology teachers, where I walk you through everything I do to map out, plan, and assess my students. And because I want to help as much as possible, just for signing up you will receive a free printable template of my daily lesson and reflection planner (and of course some free tips). 

Brittany Washburn
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Science 5E Units- Particles of Matter Models

5E Science Units- Physical Science Unit 1

Do you teach your students how to make particle models for the different states of matter? Then this paperless digital unit is perfect for your classroom! 

Using the 5E Science model, this unit includes:

Engagement: Objective and engagment activities
You are going to love the I Can statement and engagement activities that come in this unit. Your students can choose to do one or both of the activities.  If you have time, the children's book Solving Dissolving is a fantastic beginners activity. 
Exploration: Virtual lab with guided notes
The lab component of any science unit is so important. This virtual lab exploration and guided notes will demystify the concepts.
Explanation: Notes, vocabulary, digital interactive notebook template, and diagrams
I did all of the work here to make your life easier. Students move through at their own pace. 
Elaboration: 4 choices for creating a visual representation of knowledge
Who doesn't love options? Students choose 2 of the 4 activities to complete at their own pace. 
Evaluation: Multiple choice questions
This particular unit includes 8 multiple choice questions to check for understanding. View the video below to see the unit. 

After you watch the video, check out this exclusive reader freebie- click to download a vocabulary poster to go along with this unit:

5E Science Model- Particle Models in Matter Vocabulary Poster

Brittany Washburn
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