Earlier this semester in Composition I I had students read one of Thomas Jefferson’s State Of The Union addresses and annotate it as part of our early discussions on literary research. What I wish I had thought to do was create a wordle of the address to see how that changes/helps student’s annotation and close reading. Recently, after I mentioned this on Twitter, another Twitter user pointed me to Governing Dynamo, a website that archives every president’s inaugural addresses but also offers wordles and other assorted new media.
The wordles are very insightful and I think can help students narrow in on what the focus of a piece of writing. I think in the spring I will use Jefferson’s first inaugural address for the annotation assignment. Wordles will add an interesting new aspect to student reading and my teaching.