Monday, July 18, 2011

Words, Beautiful Words!

As far as I’m concerned, it is never too early to start exposing children to the beauty of language. Learners use tools all the time to try to make meaning out of our world. A microscope can closely examine bugs and paint can create colorful pictures. The following three websites are fantastic tools kids can use to get up close and personal with words and language!

1) Wordle

Have you heard of Wordle? Wordle lets you create art with words. Simply paste words in from just about anywhere and, voila, you can play around until you have a fantastic, colorful word cloud! Here is my Wordle tribute to Harry Potter:

Wordle: hp

The possibilities for using Wordle are endless. Have your child compile a list of all the words related to what they are studying (solar system = stars, sun, moon, planets, asteroid, comet, etc. or literature = fiction, non-fiction, fantasy, mystery, genre, author, illustrator, etc.). They can save their creation to the Wordle gallery, print it out, or, for the older kiddos, get the code and put it on a blog or website. The idea is to make words beautiful so that kids want to look at them all the time! Hmmmm….You can even get fancy and frame your wordle. You can see a beautiful framed Wordle over at Jenerally Speaking.

2) PicLits

Another great place to play with language is PicLits. Here you can choose from a huge and ever-growing gallery of fun pictures that stimulate writing. Kids can either freewrite (I did a haiku in mine below: "Cute crazy-haired dog, sitting sad and lost on street, please come home with me.) or learn about parts of speech by dragging words from lists of nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs to describe the picture.

3) Visuwords

Lastly, make sure to bookmark the Visuwords Online Graphical Dictionary and Thesaurus.

This site is useful any time you want to look up a word. Kids can potentially spend hours typing in random words that come to mind and Visuwords will provide a network of related words that move around and are just so engaging. Kids can use Visuwords to see how words can play different roles in language (like how some words can be both nouns and verbs) and how words are related (synonyms and antonyms). Very cool.

Who knew that word play could be so darn fun? And this is just the tip of the iceberg as far as online language applications for dynamic learning.

Have you used any of these sites before? If so, how? Are there any other word play sites that you would recommend?


Post a Comment