Sunday, February 23, 2014

Sunday Funday: Tagxedo Word Clouds Using Irish Songs
I’m linking up today with Molly and Deirdre, two of my favorite bloggers. This linky is going to be perfect for me as someone who frequently can’t make it in time for a Five for Friday.

My classes are working on computer projects right now, but being married to an Irishman, I wanted to include some Irish art in the STEAM lab.

I loved this pin I found on Pinterest. I got it in my head that I should add a design to the background. Almost as soon as it started, I was regretting the decision.


We are adding green puffy paint. I’m hoping the finished product look fun and elementary. I’m afraid they are going to end up looking like a political statement. My how times have changed!

While I’m still unsure about my kindergarten project, I am in love with the project I did with my fifth graders.


I have never done word clouds, but after playing around with Tagxedo, I knew I had to find a way to make it fit. I’m thrilled with how it has come out.

I started with a Google Doc that I shared with my students. The file contained a list of Irish songs my Irish husband put together. We were careful to take out the drinking songs and the overly religious songs. Working in teams of two or three, students signed up for the song that they wanted to use. It was our first time using Google Drive, so they were impressed that you could see the other students signing up in real time.

Once each group picked their song, they searched online for the lyrics. The computer part of the lesson was actually using the keyboard short cuts to cut and paste. It sounds simple, but it was a much needed skill.

After watching this tutorial, the students pasted the lyrics and designed their word cloud. We talked about making sure that the design matched the song.

 “Ireland’s Call”

I’ve had a color laser printer in my classroom since August, but it was not connected to the student computers until Monday. Once I approved the design, we printed it on cardstock. The students wrote the name of the song and signed the design. We also posted a thumbnail to our 5th Grade STEAM Lab Gallery Padlet page.

“MacNamara’s Band”

The part of my position that I’ve had the hardest time adjusting to is timing. I see each class for 50 minutes every three days. Adding to that, a number of students are pulled out for SAI instruction for reading and/or math. The students who get extra support in reading only come to my class when it falls on a Thursday or Friday. The students who get extra support in math only come to my class when it falls on a Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday. Those who get help in both never come to me. I see a slightly different group of students each time. Add to that the fact that the computers are not set up yet to allow students to save any work, and it is hard for me to do activities that last more than one class period.

One of the students who gets reading and math support came to me after school and asked to make a word cloud like the ones that they did in class. I guess it just shows that they do pay attention to what I put out in the hall. She is going to make her own Monday after school.

I keep thinking of “should have done that” activities. I would have loved to have done more with the songs. We only got to listen to one or two songs. It would have been great to talk about word choice and so on. I keep telling myself that next year I’ll have a better feel for things and how to fit more into my 50 minutes.


Have you used Tagxedo? I am thinking of having my fourth graders create a word cloud using a content area they are studying back in class. Any other fun ideas?


  1. Wow! I love this. I need to download and try this for sure. Thanks for sharing. :)
    Come Visit Readbox!!!

  2. I''m IN LOVE with those rainbow paintings. I want to do that in my classroom. I teach 1st and think that they would LOVE doing that. Heading off to make my shamrock template now! So nice to read your blog today!

    Monahan Monkey Madness

  3. That word art is spectacular! I love it! And I just may be stealing that rainbow art project! Thank you friend!!

    Lucky to Be in First

  4. I love word art, but never tried it. Your pictures inspire me. Enjoy the rest of your Sunday.

    First Grade Schoolhouse

  5. This is awesome Jenny! That must've been a major challenge to find Irish songs that aren't related to drinking. Your schedule sounds like a nightmare. Our kids only get technology every other week for 45 minutes....sigh. Thank you so much for linking up on the premiere!
    A Burst of First