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“Wordle” Activity for Kaffir Boy Class: 10th grade World Literature Autobiography: Kaffir Boy* Website: www.wordle.net *Kaffir Boy is an autobiography about a black South African youth growing up under the apartheid system. Activity: Students will be divided into small groups. Within those groups, students will discuss the idea of mental slavery and what it means to be mentally enslaved. Mental enslavement is a concept that author Mark Mathabane touches upon quite often in his writing—especially in regard to race, and one’s condition in society. After discussing what it means to be mentally enslaved, and any other ideas in regard to mental slavery, groups will place their ideas on the whiteboard in the front of the room. While discussing the ideas recorded on the whiteboard as a class, one student volunteer will type and save the groups’ ideas in a Word document. Using www.wordle.net, the document will be uploaded and as a class, we will develop a “word cloud.” (My classroom contains a Polyvision board, so students can easily see anything I bring up on my personal computer). The word cloud will emphasize the most common words used in the discussions and, consequently, the uploaded document, by making them the largest and boldest words in the cloud. After discussing what those particular words are in our class word cloud (I imagine such words to be “power” and “knowledge” for example), I will print and photocopy the class word cloud and distribute one to each student. The word cloud can then be used as a beneficial studying tool for students, particularly to remind them of important aspects of our class discussion. Likewise, the word cloud can also be used as a base or “brainstorm” for a formal or informal independent write on mental slavery and the connection it has to either the autobiography, or students’ personal lives, or both! The use for the word cloud may vary depending on the specific section of students I am working with (there might be a difference between a basic class or an Honors class).
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