Magazine article Practical Literacy

Word Splash

Magazine article Practical Literacy

Word Splash

Article excerpt

Word splash is a simple strategy that requires students to focus on vocabulary, identifying and articulating the links between aspects of their reading. There are many different ways to use the word splash idea and it can easily be adapted for a range of text types or learning contexts. It is basically a three step process: The teacher selects a number of words or phrases from (or related to) the text and 'splashes' them across a page. Each one needs a space of its own.

1. Students read the text from which the words are taken and draw connecting lines between words that are in some way linked. In this step they are creating a word web.

2. Students write on the linking lines to articulate the nature of the relationship between the words. In this step they are developing the word web into a concept map.

3. This strategy can also be used as a tuning in activity in which predicted links are created before the text is read.

Selecting the words:

Teachers must have read the text before creating the word splash and be very clear on the vocabulary that is important. Different words are used for different purposes. In the case of a fiction text, words might be character names, key locations (settings), significant events and main themes or concepts.

A key purpose of the word splash is to provide a scaffold for student thinking. They must ask, 'how are these two things related in the text?' and then 'how is this third element linked to previous connections?' The third step, labelling the connection, refines this thinking to ensure the link is succinctly explained. …

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