Start with a Word Splash!

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In my district, our new evaluation system focuses heavily on how we deliver content to our students and especially how we gauge their understanding of that content. I’ve been reflecting upon this quite a bit.  

I think it becomes very easy to fall into the “timeline trap” of blindly following the curriculum map or instructional guidelines without taking into account what your students actually need versus what someone else says they should do. I, for one, am glad that my expertise in this area might finally be appreciated!

Check out this fun way to check for previous vocabulary knowledge when starting a new unit of learning in the classroom. Works for reading and math!

One new strategy I recently found was to start a new concept with a Splash. A Splash is a super simple way to get kids to activate prior knowledge, build schema, and make predictions about what they’re going to learn.

It’s also a way to quickly get an idea of your students’ level of understanding before you start teaching a new concept to help you guide future instruction.

Basically, a Splash is a visual that that you will prepare before the lesson begins. Then you show the visual to the students and ask them what connections they can make from the words or numbers that they see.

Reading and Language Arts Power Pack

11 reading and language arts resource sets that pack a punch!

Reading and LA Power Pack Cover

This power pack includes the following 11 files:

  • Beach Activities Pack (K-6)
  • Chapter Book Reading Strategies Activities  (grades 3-8)
  • Chrysanthemum Reading Packet (grades 2-4)
  • Contraction Packet (grades 1-3)
  • DI Spelling Menus Packet (grade 2+)
  • Never Ride Your Elephant to School Activities (grades 2-4)
  • Reading Bingo (grades 2-8)
  • Space Theme Reading Logs (grades 2-5)
  • Fiction and Nonfiction Story Maps (grades 2-6)
  • Vocabulary Bingo (grades 3+)
  • Writing Menu (grades 3+)

See more details HERE.

Then guide them towards predicting what they might be learning about based on their discussion and the words you chose.

Here’s an example of a Word Splash that you might use to start a unit on plants:

Check out this fun way to check for previous vocabulary knowledge when starting a new unit of learning in the classroom. Works for reading and math!

Here’s an example of a Number Splash that you might use to introduce counting by or adding by tens:

Check out this fun way to check for previous vocabulary knowledge when starting a new unit of learning in the classroom. Works for reading and math!

I use these same mini-posters over and over again. They are laminated of course, and I use the vis-a-vis markers on them which I think is easier to remove with a damp paper towel. You can download them for yourself {HERE}.

What a Splash is not: A Splash is not intended for you to elicit responses for the students to add to the visual, nor is it intended to be done together as a class.

It’s also not for wrapping up a unit with your students. 

Of course, similar activities like this are purposeful and have their place, but a Splash should be kept as a special teacher-created visual that retains its unique purpose.

It is also not meant to be a permanent display during your unit of study. 

It is suggested that when you use a Splash, you hold up the poster and walk around the room or project on a document camera so that all students can see.

Give Splash a try and let me know what you think!

Check out this fun way to check for previous vocabulary knowledge when starting a new unit of learning in the classroom. Works for reading and math!

Visit Denise at her blog HERE!

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