Updated: Dec 6, 2020
Vocabulary is important in all subjects. Being able to recall and deploy key words correctly can earn valuable marks in an exam. It can also illustrate a deeper understanding of a topic by being specific. However, embedding relevant vocabulary and linking factors can prove a tall order for students facing time limits in an exam. I believe the key is to practice using the language as much as possible.
That's where WORDSPLATTING comes in!
This quick and easy activity can pretty much be done anywhere-just grab a pen and paper. Students can do this independently, in groups or as a whole class using the whiteboard. It can be done on the hoof or download this super speedy one slide PowerPoint for free. It works with all subjects and all ages:
How is works:
1 - Pupils call out as many words as they can about a given topic and the teacher writes them on the board. It doesn't need to be neat or in any order, random is just fine. In history I also have them shout out key dates too. The aim is to 'splat' as much knowledge as the can where it can be seen.
2 - When the board is full of words the students must link at least 3 words in a verbal sentence. I model this first then select others to contribute their ideas through direct questioning. I also ask students to come up to the front and link them with the board pen as well as saying the sentence out loud. This is to hopefully further reinforce the links between ideas and shares thinking as a class.
3 - Then independently each student has to write down 3 sentences using at least 3 key words in each one.
4 - Finally, as a challenge the young people write a whole paragraph using 10, or better still, ALL the key words on the board. This always turns into a bit of a competition with even the quietest of students being willing to read their answers out loud!
I have found this activity useful in supporting vocabulary use and for building confidence. This also allows me a chance to hand over the reins to my students a little by asking for a volunteer to be in charge of writing up the words at the front. It's lovely to watch my students lead each other in learning.
Many of my students say they have used this method themselves as part of their own revision and I do notice an upswing in the amount of key vocabulary included in essays after we've done this in class.
Maybe try it yourself and let me know below how it works out for your kids!