Using Wordle in Spanish Class

Spotlight on Strategies by Jen Nicholson


According to its website, "Wordle is a toy for generating “word clouds” from text that you provide. The clouds give greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the source text. You can tweak your clouds with different fonts, layouts, and color schemes." Wordle was created by Jonathan Feinberg to allow users to create a simple word cloud to visualize data.

Research shows that Spanish teachers are using Wordle for a variety of reasons. Emilia Carrillo is using it to introduce vocabulary. At the beginning of a new chapter, Carrillo creates a Wordle using the vocabulary from the upcoming chapter. Students are put into groups and given the Wordle. With their group members, they brainstorm what they think the new chapter will be about based on the Wordle. They also look for words they don't know and think about grammatical structures that could be introduced in the chapter.

Rodd Lucier uses it as a tool to enhance student introductions at the beginning of the year. I'm going to borrow Lucier's idea and take it a step further. I'll begin by providing my students with a "Getting to Know You" questionnaire. Students will have to answer questions such as what's your name, how old are, when is your birthday, where are you from, what are you like, who lives in your house, what is your family like, where have you traveled to in your lifetime, and where would you like to travel to at some point in your life. All students will answer in Spanish.


Here's an example using responses from a teacher survey. I asked a group of colleagues to complete the same survey questions that students will receive. The bigger the word, the more times it was mentioned. This will be a way for each class to find out what we have in common.
Big image
The following example will introduce a unit on numbers and ages. Knowing the potential ages of my students, I tried to repeat their ages. I also included the question to ask how old are you and how to say I am so many years old.
Big image


I invite you to use Wordle with your world language students. Give them a survey at the beginning of the year. Either upload their responses yourself or give the task to students. Find out what you have in common as a class. Use this strategy as a way to develop a rapport with your students by getting to know them. Watch the how to video below.
How To Create A Wordle


Carrillo, E. (2012, April 7). Technology tools to use in the foreign language classroom -

Wordle. Retrieved from

Clemevans (screen name). (2009, April 11). How to create a Wordle. Retrieved from

Feinberg, J. (2009) Wordle. Retrieved from

Lucier, R. (2008). Top 20 uses for Wordle. Retrieved from