I love the idea of leaving kids with one "cool tool" each time they visit me. During my second session with the grade 3-5 students, I modified an idea I found on Chad Lehman's website using Wordle. In a nutshell, Wordle creates a word cloud out of the text your provide. The more frequently a word is used, the bigger it becomes in the cloud. We began our Wordle lesson by modeling the process, and I had kids quickly brainstorm reasons we love Thailand. Yes, the beaches truly are amazing here, but I did cheat a bit when we made this. When one kid said 'beach,' I asked who else liked the beach and then added a bunch more to give them the idea.We then broke into small groups and listed 6 favorite book titles or series, which I then input into the program to create our Wordle. (It is always cute to hear the 'oohs' and 'aahs' of kids viewing the Wordle). Going one step further, I talked about how our Wordle is actually providing us with data about our class as readers, and we tried to extract the data we could find.
I put them together in a Voicethreadand found myself very interested to see how readers matured greatly from grade 3 to grade 4. There was a leap from mostly predictable series in grade 3 to more individual, meatier books in grade 4. Diary of a Wimpy Kid was overall the most popular, and our friend Garfield was found to be king at all levels.