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Sift for Knowledge with Word Clouds

Ed Tech Made Easy

Word clouds are taking over the web, helping teachers rain knowledge down on students!

Wordle may have blazed the way for work clouds in the classroom, but Standford's Word Sift brings visual learning to the next level with the additional customization options, drag-and-drog images, and much more.

This free Web 2.0 tool is perfect for your literacy center, brainstorming center, or comprehension center activity to summarize a reading passage!  You control the content and the outcome.

How Word Sift Works 

1. Add Text: Copy some text and paste into the text box. You can paste up to 65K of text. Once you choose the text you will click on sift and create a word cloud.

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Here's an example using text from a Wikipedia entry on Spring.

Sift for Knowledge with Word Clouds

This example is what it looks like from rare to common.

2. Arrange/Rearrange Your Word Cloud: The word cloud can be manipulated and you can control how the words are arranged, from rare to common, common to rare, A-Z, Z-A, color code them by content or subject area.

Sift for Knowledge with Word Clouds  

This example highlights the words from the science category.

The text box takes the text and organizes the top 50 words by value of size. While this may sound a little complicated, give it a try with some familiar text and you will be amazed at how many ways you can view your text.


3. Other Tools to Customize Visual Presentation: Once the word cloud is completed, you also have the option of looking at the text as images or as a web. The final view is looking at a word of choice, which then goes back to the full text and organizes the vocabulary into sentences. This amazed me since this would be such a great option for differentiated instruction in our classes to offer this as an option for summarizing and reflecting on the text.

Sift for Knowledge with Word Clouds  

This image illustrates the words in the Visual Thesaurus.

Sift for Knowledge with Word Clouds

And the last and most exciting option is to be able to take the images, make them draggable, take some vocabulary and drop it into a workspace which can then be captured and turned into a worksheet, a study guide or a power point. The possibilities are limitless.

When you use the "Customized Workspace," you or your student can bring the word clouds and images together to create their own visual interpretation of the concept you're studying.

Sift for Knowledge with Word Clouds

Go to the Word Sift website to get started!

How would you use Word Sift in your classroom? Share in the comments section! 


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