Valentine’s Day

Toby's word cloud

Toby’s word cloud

The notion of Valentine’s Day is always of interest to students. One of my colleagues, Amanda Ritter, from Toorak College created a discussion starter in a collaborative chat room stating:-

Morning everyone – quick poll to get us talking – yesterday all Valentines Day flower deliveries were banned at my school – do you think that’s fair!

Amanda teaches in a private girls’ school where in the past the school has been a ‘sea’ of flowers as deliveries came in from Valentines!

Here are the other activities that my classes were involved in:-

  1. Students brainstormed what words come to mind when they hear of Valentine’s Day on a google document. This was spell checked. created a lot of public discussion on netiquette as inevitably first timers typed on top of others words and deleted others. In appropriate language was not a problem in this instance. See the resultant document which now displays year 7 and 8’s brain storms.
  2. The words were highlighted, copied and pasted in wordle to create a word cloud.
  3. Students tweaked their word cloud manually, customizing it to their taste, cropped the wordle with the MS snipping tool  (a firm favourite software tool) and added this image to a blog post.
  4. They had to find an online site that explained more about Valentine’s Day and hyperlink text to take readers to this site and write a brief post.
  5. Students could use the same word if it is one that they thought of. This means it becomes larger text in the wordle.

Highlights

  • watching students collaboratively adding to one document
  • high engagement of students when they can all contribute simultaneously – every student can contribute
  • the amazing collection of words that years 7 and 8 students ‘stormed’ together. See their document, which I have now locked from being edited.
  • An engaging activity that takes little time to set up – register for a gmail account>google drive>create new document>change sharing priveleges to public on web, anyone can edit. Share link to document with students on class blog, wiki or a share network drive.
  • not one word cloud looked the same, even though the content was the same. Each student used different colours etc.
  • It encourages them to read   words from students as they type them up.
Tate's word cloud

Tate’s word cloud

Challenges

  1.  Students need to find a spot on the google document where someone else is not typing.
  2. First timers typed on top of others words accidentally, others deleted words. This created teachable moments with discussion on netiquette and appropriate behaviour online.  Some also used inappropriate words but as this was all public, discussion soon saw them edited out.
  3. Students tended to write their words in a vertical list. It is better that they type the words across.
  4. Editing the document quickly enough for high quality. eg remembering to add a tilde to keep two words together (~)
  5. Some students could not copy the words from the google document, so it also had to be exported as a Word document and saved in their public student drive for access. (I am still not sure what caused this problem)
  6. Finding the customization colour palette in wordle.

Further resources for Valentine’s Day

And an interesting read Lens of the Day: Valentine’s Day Through History on Squidoo.

What did you do on Valentine’s Day? Did you complete any related activities with students? Interestingly, Valentine’s Day is our wedding anniversary so my husband has no excuses for forgetting. However when we were married, it was not celebrated to the extent it is today and it was an accidental selection of date and not deliberate!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s