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Word It Out: Scrambled Word - Famous Quote or Proverb Word Cloud


Main Website:

Activity Description

Using the Web site Word It Out, students will create a word cloud from a famous quote or proverb. The site will scramble the words. Then, students will share their word clouds with classmates working to unscramble the quotes or proverbs.


  1. Make sure the Web site is not blocked at your school. Also, if you plan to have students use the Internet to search for quotes or proverbs, make sure that the sites you plan to have them use are also not blocked.
  2. Practice using the Word It Out Web site yourself to familiarize yourself with it and to anticipate student questions or difficulties.
  3. Prepare a handout with the Web site links or post the links on a class Web site. See the Teacher Tips section (below) for ideas if you need them.


  1. Have students select a famous quote, write it down word for word, and record who said it and when (if available). If they do not know of any famous quotes, you may choose to have them browse through quotes at the following Web sites: Optionally, you can have students use a famous proverb in English or students can translate a proverb from their native languages into English, which they will later explain to the class. Sites for proverbs are the following:
  2. Have students visit the Example Web Site (above), to see a sample of a word cloud of a famous JKF quote. Once they have the idea of what they will be working on, have them go to Word It Out's main page to create their own word cloud.
  3. Select the + Create link at the top of the page or the Create you own button a little further down.
  4. In the giant text box, either copy and paste the desired quote or type it in the box.
  5. Select the Word it out button.
  6. Scroll down to the Text Settings section and select the Text tab to change the defaults of ignored words and punctuation, as needed.
  7. Select the Word list tab to select how words are displayed (Randomly, Count, or Alphabetically) and Case (most common, all lower case, or all upper case).
  8. Select the Word Cloud tab to customize the word cloud (background color, word color and variance, number of colors, color blending, font style and size, and variance of font word size).
  9. Select the Apply button. If making all these selections is too time consuming or beyond the level of your students, you can also use the Random Settings button located near the top of the page after selecting Word It Out and the site will make randomly generated word clouds from the text entered.
  10. Select the green Save button (also near the top of the page on the right).
  11. Give the Word cloud a title, description, and enter a related Web page (optional), choose privacy option (public or private), and enter an e-mail address (ideally the teacher’s) for sharing.
  12. Select OK and the Web address (URL) for the word cloud will be e-mailed to the address entered.
  13. Then, collect all the students’ work by opening your e-mail and choosing Download for each word cloud students have sent you. Download and save the word clouds to a folder or USB device.
  14. Print (color preferably) or project the word clouds in class.
  15. Ask students to decipher the quotes/proverbs by unscrambling the words. Then see if any students (other than the student who created the word cloud) can guess who said the quote. If students used famous proverbs, instead ask students to unscramble the proverbs and try to explain what they mean or tell if they have a similar proverb in their first languages.

Teacher Tips

  • The site uses British/Canadian spelling.
  • No registration is necessary to use the site. An e-mail address is needed for saving and sharing.
  • For help using the site, see the Questions Page . Other sites for creating word clouds include the following:
  • Many sites, like these, have advertising. Teach your students what it looks like and how to avoid selecting it since sometimes it contains malware that they will not want on their computers, at school or at home. It is a very important and necessary skill for them to know.
  • In order get students to the Web site, you can make it a Favorite or Bookmark the site on each computer browser, e-mail them the link, e-mail a word processing document with the link in it, or post the link on your class Web page.

More Ways

  • The number of ways to use Word clouds in ESL classes at all levels is unlimited. See the Word It Out gallery for ideas.

Program Areas

  • ESL: English as a Second Language


  • Intermediate Low
  • Intermediate High
  • Advanced


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OTAN activities are funded by contract CN220124 from the Adult Education Office, in the Career & College Transition Division, California Department of Education, with funds provided through Federal P.L., 105-220, Section 223. However, OTAN content does not necessarily reflect the position of that department or the U.S. Department of Education.