Sunday, 27 March 2011

Every blog has a silver lining - A mini challenge

During the recent VRT conference, I made a blog challenge towards the end of my session which I’d like to repeat here:


Make a word cloud from your blog!

This can be done by pasting your blog’s url (or rss feed url) into Wordle (or any other word cloud generator with this facility). You then get a snapshot of your blog’s recent content. The challenge is then to reflect on what you see in the resulting image:
  • What does it tell you about the content of your writing?
  • What does it tell you about your writing style and use of vocabulary?
  • Is there anything that surprised you?

    Here’s the word cloud snapshot of my blog (taken just before the VRT session):

    Blog (March 2011)_thumb[3]


    As you can see, I’ve written about kids a lot (unsurprising as I work with them!), animals (due to my recent post about the ‘Into the Wild’ website I made) and vocabulary. The prominence of just, also and use suggests I over-use those words a little. I’ll try to be more varied with my language in future!


    Content wise, it’s good to see kids, students and activities feature prominently as I like to focus on what my students have done in class.

    It will be interesting to repeat this in a few weeks and see what has changed and what has stayed the same!

    Contributions so far*

    *Please let me know if I’ve missed any.


    1. Hi Dave,
      Here's my contribution :)

    2. Did you remove common English words or not, Dave?

    3. Loved the challenge Dave! :-) Thanks for triggering that reflection, really enjoyed it!

    4. Great fun! I'm quite surprised by some of the words which came up on mine.

    5. Thanks for all the contributions so far, all of which I've added to the main post. Great how many of us came out with 'students' as a prominent word. :)

      Mike - I did remove common words and I think I also reduced the number of words to about 40 to make the slide more easily readable in the Adobe Connect whiteboard space.

      Teresa - Glad you enjoyed the challenge! If you've got a link to your word cloud or a post about it, could you post the link to it or tweet it to me? Thanks

    6. Hi David!!

      I enjoyed this challenge and decided to contribute to it myself:

    7. Here's looks like it's from a teenage girl's diary! I swear I write ideas for ESL students and teachers:) lol.

    8. Thanks for the contributions Henrick and Stuart.

      Stuart - I think the 'teenage girl' theme probably comes from the songs you've included on your page!

    9. Hi Dave

      Thanks for this inspiring challenge, which I really enjoyed! I've stayed up til 2am to complete mine before I head off into the real clouds tonight, and here it is:

    10. Thanks David
      This is the first time I have heard about your blog, and I'm glad I came and rose to the challenge. I facilitate TKT preparation courses and teacher training in Mexico, among EFL and Writing classes. Here is my TKT blog. It sure pleased me! Ellen

    11. thanks for the challenge David and see you soon!

    12. Thanks for this mini challenge, here is my result, greetings from mexico.

    13. Hey, thanks Dave - looks like it's a very successful challenge.

    14. Hi Dave,
      Here's my contribution to the challenge

      Congratulations on such a great idea!

    15. This is fun way to learn English.
      I found your blog from my beloved teacher Tara Benwell

      Thanks Dave, I love the challenge a lot.
      Check my wordle blog

    16. A fun challenge :-) See my blog word cloud at


    17. Hi David,

      A fun idea! Here is the link to my wordle:

      Will definitely be reading your blog more often!



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