Monday, November 15, 2010

Using Wordle for learning the Dewey Decimal categories

Wordle is a favorite Web 2.0 tool of mine and the students love it. I thought it might be fun to combine Wordles with the Dewey Decimal lessons that we do at the beginning of the school year with 3rd and 4th graders.

The resources we use are bookmarked on the Media Services website at:

(You will also find links there to online Dewey games and a bookmark template we have used in the past)

Before starting the project, all students login to their server accounts and open either the shared folder for the building or my building dropbox. This is how I collect all the files at the end of the class.

To get started, I have the student access the list of categories and some of the top subjects. They download the list to the desktop and open it in Word. They then select their "favorite".

At this point, they get a review in copy/paste techniques (keyboard shortcuts and commands). They copy the entire category, including the Dewey number.

Next, they return to the web browser and use the Media Center link to access I show them the two places they can click to "Create" a new Wordle. They paste their information into the empty box and I explain that the more times a word (or any string of characters) is repeated, the larger it will be.

After their initial Wordle is created, I demonstrate how to change the various elements such as font, layout and color. Most important is to click on "Language" and unclick "Remove numbers" so that the Dewey number will display.

After they are happy with the results, I show them how to do a "screen clip" using the keyboard command on their laptop. (Command/shift/4) This image saves to the desktop and after it has been renamed (student's 1st name) , it is dragged to the open server folder.

After I have all the screen shots, I put them in a folder and move them to my laptop's hard drive.

I open my Animoto Educator's account and select a style. I then make a selection from their collection of free music. (I have also used audio from Soundzabound, a subscription based source for royalty free sound files) After uploading the images and the music, Animoto processes the files and notifies me by email that it is ready to view. (With Animoto for educators, I could have created student accounts and had them create their own videos. I opted not to do that this time because it would take two class periods)

In the past I have used the option to download the MP4 (to post on the web site) but this time, I opted to copy the embed code and use that on the 4th Grade MC blog. That way the video is hosted on the Animoto server, not the local one. (On the blog site click on "Go to Archive" to see all the entries)

Last year, I spent a little more time on this project and instead of using Animoto, we wrote and recorded Dewey raps using GarageBand, creating enhanced podcasts, with audio and images.

Students love the videos and watch them repeatedly.

During this lesson, students learn:

1. How to access their server accounts and how to save to a shared folder
2. How to copy/paste
3. How to manipulate Wordle to create specific results
4. How to do a screen clipping
5. The subjects are covered in the 10 Dewey categories (if we had more time, I would have them create the list of topics)

Kathy Kaldenberg, Librarian