Making Curriculum Pop

Four months ago I first publicly released Tagxedo (, a free online word cloud tool similar to (and inspired by) Wordle, but with the ability to handle shapes.

Not surprisingly, teachers have been my most enthusiastic supporters from the get-go. Most recently Ryan Goble kindly mentioned Tagxedo in a New York Times article, and invited me to join the MCP forum and say a few words about Tagxedo.

To me, Tagxedo is fun, flexible, and versatile. It is more art than "tag cloud". Although many teachers who have played with it love it, the vast majority of teachers still haven't heard of Tagxedo, and many who have still hardly touched what Tagxedo has to offer. Some people simply dismissed Tagxedo as "yet another Wordle alternative" without looking further.

I decided the best way to go about this is to show people different ways to use Tagxedo. 101 ways to be exact!

Each one of these 101 ways is accompanied by at least one example. While some of the "ways" are not directly related to education, even then the techniques are just as applicable.

I hope you can check it out. Keep in mind that everything mentioned in the presentation can be done by you! Or your students!

-- Hardy Leung (

P. S. A few examples --

(1) Make a Class Tagxedo

(2) Expand Students' Vocabulary -- great visual art, with the original word front-and-center.

(3) Break the Ice

(4) Make a Poem Tagxedo

(5) Start a Class Topic

(6) Improve Students' Writing Skill

(7) Summarize a Field Trip Report

(8) Appreciate Other Languages -- typography, characteristics of languages

(9) Make a Language Art

(10) Teach Students about Cultures of the World

(11) Improve Your Writing

(12) Stimulate Early-Childhood Learning

(13) Create a Synonym Wall

(14) Building SAT Vocabulary -- great visual art

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Replies to This Discussion

This is really awesome--thanks for showing so many examples for those of us "inside the box" thinkers. :-)
I love the examples as well as the possibilities Tagxedo offers. Thank you for posting this!
Last year I used wordle for my first writing assignment of the year. I had students create a wordle and then write an accompanying piece justifying the use of words in their piece. I'm definitely going to try it with this program instead.

I have to highly recommend it. The kids loved it (10th graders) and it was a really quick and easy way for me to learn their names, learn more about them, and identify their writing skill levels.
I love the tool, but any tool is only as versatile as its uses. These ideas are great, and really add value. Thanks Hardy!
Great ideas!

In addition, summarizing a chapter of a book for reading has been our best use of this capability. Students identify the most important words to listen to as they read, or get a preview of what is important to learn about/understand.

With websites like spark notes, and others, we have used this successfully with special education students needs to get to the important information quickly.
Sparknotes! I never thought of that!

Also, as extra credit options, we've allowed students to create character wordles. Identifying the traits that a character possesses and then justifying how they determined that some words should be bigger than others, etc. with a written response using textual evidence.
This tool is amazing. Ok, it's the tool I will learn and incorporate this year .... endless possibilities ... I teach science and tech, use interactive notebooks .... students create a cover for their notebooks about themselves, students do science chapter vocabulary incorporating the chapter theme as the "image", weekly science current events ....

thanks for sharing

Love your ideas! Can't wait to see what my students are going to create



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