No matter what subject you teach or your grade, you want your students to enjoy themselves while learning.
After all, school is undoubtedly a stressful time; they’re figuring out who they are and what they want to do in life…all on top of trying to learn a strict and dense syllabus! Luckily, there are several games that you can tactfully employ to ensure that your students are kept on their toes and enjoy learning the content that they’ll be examined on. One of these games is Word Splash.
Read on to discover how to use Word Splash for the Classroom and how it can benefit you and your students.
Word Splash is a vocabulary-based game that makes learning terminology a breeze for your students. It boasts a clear set of goals for the students involved: to learn new words and encourage broader reading. As an interactive game, it’s ideal for students who learn best via kinesthetic teaching methods.
How does it work?
At the start of a new lesson, module, or academic year, the teacher should set out the keywords and concepts that are relevant to the pertaining topic. Arrange such words in a fun and visual manner on a whiteboard or around the room – bright and colorful equals a higher level of student engagement! Then ask your students to suggest what they predict each term’s definition – write down some of these suggestions around the term.
If you want to stretch your students further, ask them to conceive full sentences involving a key term. This could be done individually, in pairs, or groups. This way, they engage with the topic wider than a simple keyword, encouraging them to think outside the box and to try and connect different ideas.
Once you’ve done this, then, as a class, consult the learning material and find out if you were correct. If you played in teams, you could award points for each correct definition given – remember not to shame those students who didn’t do as well as their peers.
Modifications you can make to the game
Of course, there are many other ways that you can change up Word Splash to keep it fresh and exciting. Here, we’ve listed a few of the best ways to modify Word Splash for your students:
- You can play Word Splash while watching a video: make predictions at the start of the video, pause at intervals throughout the video to update your predictions, and then at the end, make final guesses. It’s a great way to make sure your students stay attentive while watching videos, as well as ensure that they engage with the lesson content. Again, you can do this individually or as a team. If you want to stretch them further, why not add a quiz at the end of the video, with the questions based on the core concepts they’re learning?
- You can also create a reverse Word Splash. At the beginning of a lesson, have your students read a passage of text that you’ll be focusing on during the lesson. Ask them to identify what they believe to be the keywords, phrases, and concepts and note them down or highlight them. At the end of the lesson, revisit this and see how their answers change. It’s likely that, as they understand the lesson content more, so will be understanding of what the key ideas are. It’s a great method of analysis and reflection rolled into one!
- If you’ve brought a guest speaker in to talk about the content to your students, have them guess what the key points of the discussion will be. After the speaker’s presentation, ask your students to say what they predicted. If they’re right, it is a great chance to invite deeper discussion and extend your students’ knowledge. If they get it right, it creates the opportunity to correct what students believe is the main core of the topic. Either way, it’s a win-win!
More ways to shake up Word Splash
Word Splash is a versatile game that can be used in any subject (even math!).
- Before the students come in, write the words on sticky notes and hide them around the classroom. This will create intrigue as your students come in, immediately creating interest and a readiness to learn. If your students learn by being physical, set them out in teams on a treasure hunt to find as many keywords as possible, and bring them to you with an initial guess on what the word might mean. Make it fun!
- Write the words on separate pieces of paper and attach them to the ceiling with string. Have teams of students take turns to (safely!) “fish” for a word using a pole until they unhook one and grab it. Once they’ve got a piece of paper, ask them to try and define what they think that word or concept means. Beware – you might cause envy among the other teachers for how much students enjoy your class!
- Invest in some window markers and write the keywords on the window. Nothing bewilders a student more than seeing writing where it normally shouldn’t be! Even better, invite the students to brainstorm on the window what they think each keyword means. If you can, get different colored markers and use one color per keyword, so it’s easy to differentiate each mind map.
You have to be creative in the ways that you integrate it into your class – if you enjoyed creating a game of Word Splash, then your students will surely love playing and learning through it too.