As a teacher, I have always preferred a handmade card from a child as it feels more personal and I like the effort that goes into it. As a parent to a school-aged child, I was determined that we'd be making his teachers cards for Christmas and at the end of the year, and following a recent gem-sharing session in a staff meeting, I decided that we'd create his end of year card using my latest find.
Tagxedo is a great website which allows users to input a bank of words and create a tag/word cloud in a specific shape. In the classroom we use tag clouds for topic work and brainstorming all the words that we can think of connected to the topic; they are very attractive and engaging for children (and adults alike!).
The software has predetermined themes in it which automatically choose a selection of colours to fit the provided shapes. However The Boy and I decided to create a more personalised word cloud in the shape of a rosy red apple for his teacher, made up of all the words he could think of associated with her or to describe her.
Making this card is easy with just a few simple steps, the most important thing to do is install 'Silverlight' on to the computer first, a link is available on the Tagxedo website. The other important thing is to have found and saved a suitable image from an appropriate website, this will be used as opposed to a present shape.
- Click on the black arrow next to 'shape' and click 'add image'. Browse to find and select your image.
- Once the chosen image is shown, adjust the threshold sliding bar accordingly. Click 'accept'.
- Click on 'word/layout options' and go into the 'layout' tab. Press the 'yes' alongside 'use source colour'. This will allow a multi-coloured apple to be shown (i.e. a green leaf and red apple.)
- Next click on 'load' and click within the second box to enter the chosen words; single words work best, and use a new line for each new word.
- The font is chosen automatically, but by pressing the respin button next to the word a random font is chosen. Press the arrow next to the word to choose a specific font.
- By clicking on the 'orientation' respin arrow, it's possible to change the direction of the words in a random mixture.
- Click 'save/share' to download the image and choose an appropriate size of image.
- We then cut the apple out and mounted it onto a light green, before cutting it out again and double-mounting it onto white, cutting out a last time and gluing it down onto red card.