Wordle is an application that creates Word clouds from text. The more times the word is used is how large the text will be. You can print them or take a screen capture of them for use on blogs or wikis. To embed you must save to Gallery first and then the code will appear. Here is an example of text copied from a recent newspaper article. This could be used as an activity for writing a report.
Or this one where the story of Cinderella was copied from wikipedia site http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cinderella
Why not copy the text from a child's story and insert into Wordle, the student will be able to see what words they use the most in their writing.
Here are some examples of student writing. This particular student is very aware about using descriptive adjectives and interesting verbs.
This next student who is of the same age as the previous one has the same amount of words, but it is obvious which words she has overused by the size of the text. In discussion with this student she is able to clearly see that she needs to find other words for 'said, school, fun' and she could look at the use of her pronouns as well. Compare the two Wordle diagrams and it is obvious which student has the larger vocab!
If you are letting students enter this site on their own then I suggest that you give them this address http://wordle.net/create this will avoid the Home screen which has examples of others 'Wordles'. Occasionally there may be one that has inappropriate words but if you use this address with the Create it will open up the Create window thus avoiding looking at the Home Screen. There are new features being added regularly. Use the menus to make more changes to your diagrams, the Language menu allows you to show all common words like 'the' or 'and'. The font menu offers you a range of creative fonts. Layout gives you many choices for viewing the words horizontally, vertically or any which way. Under the Colour option you can change the colour of the words and backgrounds. This application has the potential for many uses in education so give it a try!