Sunday, January 18, 2015

DigiLit Sunday - One Little Word and Tagxedo

      I love that Margaret Simon has started a Sunday Link Up for posts about digital literacy at her blog to challenge us to share our technology journeys.

Whew!  It's been awhile since I wrote a DigiLit Sunday post.  Weekends have been whirlwinds, and I haven't gotten a chance to sit down and reflect on the technology being used in my classroom.  Even this weekend is full of traveling, but I thought ahead and am writing this on Friday and scheduling this post to publish on Sunday!

I borrowed this One Little Word lesson from our DigiLit leader herself, Margaret Simon!  I wanted to share with you know how it turned out.  The kids really enjoyed it, and I think it expanded their understanding of their OLWs.  First, I showed them the slides of the questions from Margaret's Emaze presentation.  I had them spend 7-10 writing a Quick Write in their Writer's Notebooks reflecting on the questions.  Once they had their words, we made semantic webs from  They really enjoyed this part and marveled at the number of synonyms that the online thesaurus could give them.  This also gave me an opportunity to discuss connotations of words.  We talked about how we wanted our OLWs and their synonyms to have positive connotations. For instance, one student's OLW was SMILE, but smirk came up as a synonym. 

When the semantic webs were finished, each student typed all their words into a Google Doc, typing their OLWs and most important synonyms more than once so they will come up bigger, and copied and pasted them into a Tagxedo.  What fun they had experimenting with different shapes (some went to Google images to save shapes that Tagxedo didn't have), themes, and fonts.  Many students then wrote the stories of their One Little Words in Slices of Life in their Kidblogs.

Throughout all these activities, I heard, "This is fun!" more than once.  I love the creative visual Tagxedo generates.  I know Margaret had trouble with the site at school.  We couldn't get Tagxedo on the Chromebooks, but we had access to it on the desktop computers in the lab.  Here are some student samples:

protect tagxedo.jpg

Brynna - PROTECT

light bulb.jpg

Sierra - GLEAM

smile for OLW.jpg

Mackenzie - SMILE

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Maddie OLW.jpg

Maddie - FOCUS (She shares my word!)

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There are many, many more student-created wonderful Tagxedos and Slices of Life that expand and explain the One Little Words in our classroom.  Thank you, Margaret, for your marvelous ideas!


  1. Wow! Love these results. The Tagxedo images are wonderful. I will try again with the copy and paste idea. The thesaurus idea was one of those spur of the moment light bulbs. My students also found some negative words. Discussion was vibrant. I lucked in to an observation on the day we worked on these. Unfortunately, as is often the case with me and my gifted students, I had not documented the lesson in my plans. Some of the best lessons just happen.

  2. Holly,
    Thanks for sharing the Tagxedo images your students created. It was interesting to look at the shapes they chose, and then consider the words within. I'm sure much thought went into each.


  3. What a great variety of forms your students chose for their Tagxedo poems. Isn't it cool the way the word "fearless" appears on the lion's outstretched paw in Jaidyn's poem?

  4. Love Tagxedo - just used it to share independent reading possibilities. I've also seen people use it as a pre-test/post-test for different units. For example, what do you know about __________ before the unit, compared to what you know about ______________ after it. I love the visual representation of how things change.

  5. Holly, your students took off with this lesson. I am going to try a OLW exercise on Friday during one of my PD sessions to bring the power of words to direct our journeys. Hopefully, it will be seller.