Photo D Sharon Pruitt Flickr Creative Commons
As a Department, we’ve been using Wordlab for a few years now. I think Teachit is home to a similar device too. Basically, any text you can write or copy can be droppedinto the ‘machine’ and then sorted. Usually I give students a few minutes to work out what the sorting means. ‘Reverse alphabetical’ usually surprised them, but they are intrigued to notice how word groups start to appear through using this.
I’ve used it alongside the Word Quarry (the link is on the page) with texts from AQA Anthology poems. Students have largely enjoyed exploring someone else’s vocabulary, the possible moods and meanings of the poems. ‘Love After Love’ has worked particularly well. I’ve always invited students to aim to develop phrases, sentences which interest them rather than ‘try to guess what the poet wrote’. Sometimes this has generated an interesting line or two and stimulated a peice of writing from the student themselves. It is interesting how many times students have asked to take away copies of their writing – always a good sign!