Google Docs Spreadsheet “Word Cloud” to Analyze Student Survey

I have always thought that Wordles (or word clouds) were fun and interesting.  However, I have never thought of them as “useful” until today when I read Becky’s Wordle Post.  Inspired, I scoured the net and found out from Free Technology For Teachers that you can create Wordle-like word clouds inside Google Document Spreadsheets!  Google Documents has a “Word Cloud Gadget” that will turn your entire page, or even just select cells, into a word cloud.  You can pick any words that you want to exclude and even chose the number of word that you want to use for your word cloud.

I instantly thought of the anonymous student survey that I gave to my 6th grade class.  I loved reading their thoughts and meant to summarize their answers but did not get around to it.  The Word Cloud was a perfect visual summary of how my students felt about their math class.

Since you can pick any cell in your Google Spreadsheet, I decided to focus on one question, “Please tell me something (or things) that you enjoy that we do in this math class.”  Here is the Word Cloud generated from that question.

I enjoyed seeing the words love, math, and projects.  The projects jumped right out at me!  This is my first time teaching in a project intensive school.  This Word Cloud zeros in the fact that students are feeing a love of math in my class, and it is because of the projects that I have created.  Since my goal is for all students to love math, I obviously need to get busy and create more projects.

My goal for this summer has been to create interesting projects for each unit.  It has been a hectic summer, and I haven’t gotten as far as I would have hoped.  However, I am determined to develop at least one interesting project per unit.  If you have any great projects from 6th grade – algebra I, please include the link in the comments or email me.  After this word cloud, projects are my new number one summer priority.

8 thoughts on “Google Docs Spreadsheet “Word Cloud” to Analyze Student Survey

  1. Pingback: Google Docs Spreadsheet “Word Cloud” to Analyze Student Survey « I Speak Math « linztech

  2. Julie,

    Thanks so much for this idea. I too give an end of year survey and then look at it but have never really thought about what else I could do.

    • I would like to do a quick word cloud in class right after they take the survey and then show the students the results. I hate that they tell me so much great stuff and then never see any “results” or compilation of their thoughts. This is so quick and easy it can be done in the same class period.

  3. Julie,
    Could you explain how to use the Word Cloud gadget? I added it and downloaded some kind of template but I can’t figure out how to use it.

    Also, on a Google Forms survey you can click Forms -> Show summary of responses and it will chart and summarize your data for you.

    And last, the site http://www.tagxedo.com/ lets you make wordles into shapes like hearts, Abraham Lincoln’s head and so on. Way cooler and more flexible than Wordle.

  4. Pingback: Alec Andry

  5. Hi Julie,
    Sorry this is coming SO ridiculously late, but it’s only during the holidays that I actually get caught up on all my RSS feeds (SO many sites… so little time!!!). I think it would make a great project to have your grade six students make up their own versions of these algebra cards. My students really, really enjoyed playing with them. I had them roll three coloured die to determine the value for a, b and c. Wish it was my idea, but it’s not. I’ve seen it in a couple places but unfortunately can’t credit the original person because I can’t figure out where the idea first came from.
    Here is one site where you can find the cards. Click on the animal substituation (about three sentences down from the top)
    http://greatmathsteachingideas.wordpress.com/tag/substitution/

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