OVERVIEW | TAGXEDO

Easy-to-use web site creates artistic shapes from your typed words and builds four important skills.

WHAT IS IT?

A lot of people are familiar with Wordle: you input text, it outputs a lovely “word cloud.” Never heard of Wordle? No worries, you’re about to learn something more engaging for your youngster: Tagxedo.

WHAT IT HELPS

I recommend Tagxedo for four reasons:

  • voice (style)
  • vocabulary (learning words personally important to the writer)
  • spelling (familiar and unfamiliar words)
  • keyboarding

The bonus? There’s a product at the end your child can show to others: computer-generated artwork.

NEED TO KNOW

You are just two steps from a finished product. First is the most important of Tagxedo’s many options: choose a shape.

Tagxedo shapes

I let my daughter select from the 100+ icons. After choosing a tree, we started step two: think of words to describe the shape. Throughout this stage, I asked her a recurring question: “What word can tell about your tree?” We came up with:

  • many leaves
  • change colours
  • tall
  • red
  • yellow
  • orange
  • brown
  • autumn

Whereas Wordle would produce these in a cloud shape, you can see that Tagxedo outputs text as the very figure you’re describing.

Under the “Save | Share” option, you can save, link to, or print the image. A minute after finishing the text, my daughter has a piece of art she created with her own words. It’s on her wall and shared online with relatives. Quick, smart, fun – and done.

NICE TO KNOW

Tagxedo presents other options for (older) users keen on finesse.

  • colour theme
  • font
  • orientation (text direction)
  • layout (words change location within the shape)

A quick tap on the arrows gives a randomized appearance. I enjoy the “Orientation” option to quick-change the look of the words. Autumn Leaves (orth & vert) Fortunately, if you don’t like your new layout, Tagxedo includes a “History” button; you can review and recall any previous looks. Tagxedo history You can see these features modelled in the brief Tagxedo video guide.

TEACHERS

If you have computers and dictionary access, this is an excellent centre. Students can work in small groups (i.e., share a computer) and must stay on task as you’ll be looking for their finished artwork. You can tie the use of Tagxedo to several curriculum outcomes. (I’m choosing Grade 1 for this example and shortening the wording of expectations.)

SKILL New Brunswick (descriptive text) Ontario Ontario ESL (G1-3) Common Core
voice show knowledge/interest in subject writing 2.2
• use pictures & words to convey attitude/feeling
writing stage 1
• express ideas through drawing, first language
writing 1.W.5
• add details to strengthen writing
vocabulary use basic vocabulary; attempt to use descriptive language oral 2.4
• choose appropriate words from vocabulary
writing stage 1
• write some personally relevant words
language 1.L.6
• use words and phrases acquired through conversations, reading and being read to
spelling spell high-frequency words; attempt to spell unknown words writing 3.1 & 3.2
• spell high-frequency & unfamiliar words
writing stage 1
• dictate to a scribe
language 1.L.2
• spell known words & use phonics to spell unknown words
keyboarding n/a media literacy 3.4
• produce short media text
writing stage 1
• begin to use computers
writing 1.W.6
• use digital tools to produce and publish writing

LINKS

Tagxedo: http://www.tagxedo.com/app.html

Tagxedo instructional videohttp://www.vimeo.com/mrpetercullen/thisistagxedo

Wordlehttp://www.wordle.net

Me: http://www.petercullen.ca

Written by Peter Cullen

Peter Cullen loves to teach children. He specializes in literacy (elementary level) and has a lot of fun creating games and activities for class lessons. He also writes, manages social media accounts and announces roller derby games.

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