‘Tis the season when lots of people are saying “‘Tis the season!” but it’s also the time of year when word searches are thrown at children like cheap confetti.
Word searches are one of my pet hates. I used to dish them out with the best of ’em but I soon realised that they were a nightmare to mark and they invariably ended up in the bin anyway.
But word searches do have a fan base and yes, some of these fans are actual teachers.
I’ve written before about word searches and I find myself drawn back to discussing them only because I can’t stand to see so much time wasted on them in the run-up to the Christmas break.
Word searches are what they are: time-fillers. Said another way: time-wasters.
I’m not a fan, even for bottom-shelf purchases at the airport. They are a glorious waste of paper.
I know that some will say that word searches are useful to reinforce whatever words you are teaching in your topic and great for spelling but really they are not.
Supporters will talk about they are great for introducing new vocabulary, help with spelling and encourage problem-solving skills. I can’t find any research that says they do any of this.
They say that word searches are good for helping children develop their reading but really they don’t do that at all. Okay, show me the evidence. They are good for scanning letters perhaps but they are also good for going cross-eyed and getting brain fuzz.
I’ve heard some say that word searches are a low-stress activity. For the pupil, perhaps but for the teacher, definitely not. Confronted with 30 of them covered in crayon or felt-tip then I can assure you they release feelings of extreme anxiety.
Then I’ve even heard that some are justifying their use saying that a good old word search helps increase neuroplasticity. I’m getting angry now.
Oh, here’s a good one…kinesthetic learners enjoy the multi-task strategies require to solve crosswords so beneficial to all learning types. My response to this is of course – “Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha.”
Word searches are sometimes sent home for homework but pleeeaaaase, that is just desperate stuff and bordering on insane.
Not even the Superintendent can answer the above question but deep down I think we all know.
Giving out word searches has got to stop. If you have time to fill, do what the Superintendent would do and read.