Wordle and the Theme

I have never been a big fan of Wordle.  It looks pretty, and it lets us see the big picture, but I never saw it as more than just an 'oh wow, that looks cool' type of thing.  Until today.

I found this Wordle is a Google search.  I put it up on the board as a title page for our lesson on determining the theme.  It was just up there to look pretty, I had no intention of using it for anything other than a title page for my SmartBoard slideshow.  Then, a student was staring at it and started to make up the story. "I think it is about a war, a bunch of soldiers are stuck near a bridge and want to go home, but they can't".  Another student jumped in and put some more information in, and then another and another.  Before you know it, we had an outline of a great short story.  We used this to talk about what the theme of such a short story would be, what is a theme, how the theme will never show up on something like Wordle (and why), and what are the elements of writing about an effective theme.  It was a great accidental lesson!

I also found a newspaper article about a JetPack that runs on water power, and put it into Wordle, but I didn't tell them what the article was about.  Using their powers of inference, they detected what the story was about, created the shell of a story, and then determined their own theme that would shape their writing and give it character.