This year, my 7th graders created Tagxedos as an “about me” first week of school activity. I like to have student work displayed at open house in September, so my 6th graders will have concrete poems to show off and my 7th graders can show their Tagxedos.

Tagxedo.com is similar to Wordle.com in that it creates a shape out of words. In Tagxedo, you can create many different shapes or even custom shapes. In Wordle, last I tried it, you could only create clouds. The cool thing that many people don’t know about Tagxedo and Wordle is that the more times a word is repeated, the larger the word appears. This makes it a cool trick to help discover themes in speeches, text, etc.

Start off by choosing the text for your Tagxedo. You can either create a list of words (or a sentences) yourself, copy and paste text, or use a website. Go to Tagxedo.com and click “load” to enter the text. For this example, I copied & pasted the text of Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech.

Here’s the default Tagxedo shape created with the text of MLK’s speech. Remember, the larger a word is, the more it was repeated in the speech. Pretty cool, huh?

Next, choose the shape. You can select one of their shapes or upload their own. The uploaded shapes work best if they are simple black and white images (not photographs). I couldn’t find a MLK photo that worked so I made the word “DREAM” into an image and uploaded that.

Then you can choose your color theme. The border of the theme is the background color. I made my students choose themes with white backgrounds to conserve printer ink. You can also create custom themes.

You are able to customize the fonts used and the layout. One of the interesting options in the Word/Layout options is seeing how many times each word is repeated. You can even remove words.

Once you’ve modified your Tagxedo to your liking, go to “save/share”. You can save as a JPG, PNG, or print. You can also create a URL.

Since I wanted my students’ Tagxedos to be about them, I had them start by creating a list of 25 words about themselves. Then I had them repeat the words that were the most important to them between two and five or six times. This makes the words they want to stand out larger and the less important words smaller. Then, they chose a shape. Most just chose a default shape, but a few got fancy and uploaded one. Here are some of their examples:

And here’s the one I made as an exmaple:

I made a video for my students to demonstrate how to make a Tagxedo and how to save it then upload it to their Google drive.
Tagxedo How-To Video

It was a fun and easy project and a cool way to decorate the room.

Have you tried a Tagxedo? I’d love to hear all about it!

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