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Word It Out: Vocabulary Lists

Website Example:

More Ways

Computer(s), Internet access, projector, printer (color preferred)

Activity Description

Using the Web site Word It Out, students will create a word cloud from newly-learned vocabulary (colors, transportation, feelings, clothing, places in a city, rooms in a house, etc.).


  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 (Example Web Site, above) yourself to familiarize yourself with it and to anticipate student questions or difficulties.
  3. Decide on what method you will use to get students to the Web site to work on their clouds. See the Teacher Tips section (below) for ideas if you need them.
  4. Be prepared to show a word cloud that you have completed or you can print or show the Example Document (above) that has a couple of samples.


  1. Have students prepare their vocabulary word lists, either from words taught in class, from a textbook, or words they look up on a translator. Alternatively, students could be grouped and given a category (transportation, feelings, colors, clothing, etc.) and work in teams to brainstorm their vocabulary lists for the assigned category.
  2. Have students go to Word It Out's home page .
  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 words or type them 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.

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. For example students could create word-association word clouds, personal characteristics word clouds, “About Me” word clouds, family word clouds, favorites word clouds, or word clouds for poetry, to name a few possibilities. See the Word It Out gallery  for other ideas.



  • Beginning Literacy
  • Beginning Low
  • Beginning High
  • Intermediate Low
  • Intermediate High
  • Advanced
  • All Levels


Basic Communication

  • (7.4) Demonstrate study skills
  • (7.7) Demonstrate the ability to use information and communication technology
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OTAN activities are funded by contract CN200091-A2 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.