Here’s the word game. Click on the word cloud and see how many sentences and phrases you can make that apply to your teaching. You’ll need to add in grammar words, but you may not add any lexical words. (This, by the way, is an activity I do a lot with students – not using my blog as the text source, of course. I often copy some of their written pieces into wordle – so they are the text source. See below.)
Wordles and dogme elt
You often hear (read) the questions levelled at dogme elt “Yes, but how do you review the language? How do you ensure it gets recycled?”; word clouds can go a long way towards providing answers. Typically the teacher in a dogme lesson takes copious notes (on paper or as an audio recording), and the board may be covered in vocabulary items by the end. What’s more, for a dogme class to stand solid, the final stage of the lesson should see some kind of written consolidation: students writing their own summarising notes outlining the salient language points that have emerged, or (far more effective, especially with teens) actually writing a summary of the conversation, incorporating the new language they have used. This summary writing reworks language, but also gives more introverted or passive students – the type who listen but don’t speak much – time to use the language. You can also ask students to add their own opinions to their summary, as they may not have expressed them in front of their peers. Particularly with teens, opinions are often part of The Twilight Zone.
Taking the language on the board (use a camera – much quicker than copying it all down), your own notes and students’ summaries, you have plenty of text to feed into wordle (the summaries are particularly useful as student-generated texts are highly motivating as a source for language activities – it somehow says ‘your work is as valid as the stuff in coursebooks’). You can then use the resulting word cloud at the start of the next class, putting students in pairs or threes (or working individually – you know your class) and asking them to come up with as many sentences as possible using words from the cloud, much as you did above. (You didn’t? Well go on then! What are you waiting for? ). They may add ‘grammar words’ but no lexical items. Discussion will often develop at the feedback stage – go with it :).