Visual Poetry is a nice iPad app for creating custom word clouds. The app’s name implies that it only works for poetry, but it will work with any text that you write. Visual Poetry allows you to choose from a menu of word cloud shapes. If the shapes in the menu aren’t quite what you’re after, you can draw your own shapes to use for your word clouds. Visual Poetry provides a wide selection of font styles, font colors, and background colors. By default Visual Poetry makes the most common words the largest, but you can make other words the featured words by simply typing them into your word clouds.
Word clouds can be useful in helping students identify the words that are emphasized in a written article or a speech. After creating their word clouds ask your students to think about why the author or speaker used some words so frequently. Word clouds can also be used to help students see which words that they have frequently used in their own works. Have your students create word clouds of their work during the revision process of writing a story or essay. The word cloud will quickly show students which words they have used a lot. Then ask them to think about synonyms for the words that they have used most often in their writing.