Primary sources can often be overwhelming to students, especially when the documents are written centuries in the past. Word clouds, which can be used to show the frequency with which words are used, can help to focus students on the main theme of a document, which will later ease the challenge of reading a primary source.
This activity makes use of word clouds as part of an examination of the Declaration of Independence as well as King George III's response. Students put themselves into King George's shoes and create a word cloud to anticipate his reaction to the Declaration. They then compare their word cloud with a peer, and finally examine the King's actual reaction--first in the form of a word cloud, and then the complete text of his speech. The activity concludes with an exit card activity in which students consider different points of view regarding the declaration.