Monday, February 11, 2013

Tagxedo Example

I have been exploring today and I wanted to try out my idea of using Tagxedo as a tool to help students summarize a piece of text.  Since you have the option in Tagxedo to make words larger the more often they appear in the text, it would make the names of main characters, key events, and commonly used words stand out.  I tried an example using the story, The Three Little Pigs.  I found an online text version, which I was able to copy and paste into  I chose to have it come up in the shape of a pig and voila!

Just as I had expected, the main characters in the story and key words to help a student tell a summary of the story stand out in larger print compared to the other words in the text. I think that all of my students would enjoy using this online tool, but I think that it would be especially beneficial for my below grade level readers who have a lot of difficulty verbalizing or writing a summary.  I am excited to use this tool in my classroom.

An online resource that helped me with this Web 2.0 tool was a tutorial I found on Youtube.

Another helpful resource was a Frequently Asked Questions page on


  1. Jess, when you created this, did you type in your words as an actual summary/paragraph? I've only used wordle and for that you just type in words. I love this idea for summarizing and I think my kids would have fun with it too!

  2. Thanks! I found a version of this story online and copy and pasted the entire story into the box! I know that the Treasures textbooks that my students use has a cd that has all of the main selections on it that can probably be copied and pasted as well. It was pretty cool and I think it would be a great tool to help students retell a story or write a summary.

  3. I like Tagxedo, really I do. I just have a very difficult time moving past my perception of the tool as eye candy. I find it interesting that even on the Tagxedo site it uses that exact term. While eye candy is great, there has to be some practical purpose for using it in education. Your summarizing idea is quite interesting. I think it is a great idea. Would you use this with younger students? Do you think that would work with older students? I took a look at the link on the Tagxedo site about 101 ways to use the tool. They had a great suggestion there about using story text to create Tagxedo documents and then using them as a quiz to see if students could identify the story. That's a new twist.

    I found some suggestions that I may try. One was to use it to check student writing for vague topics. Essentially you type in the text of your document, use customize words to take out some of the more common ones, and then create your document. If somebody can't identify the topic of your writing by looking at your Tagxedo then perhaps it is too vague. I saw another use that I'll probably share with my students. They are writing biographies right now and I saw you can create a silhouette out of the biography text of the biography subject. That would make a great cover for their work. However, I have to ask myself if that would be a meaningful use of this tool, or would it just be creating eye candy. That's where I'd have to be very careful when using this tool. The problem is, I like eye candy.