Activity Corner: The Flyswatter Game

(I thought it might be helpful to readers and myself if I took some time to describe some of my favorite activities from time to time.)

I use The Flyswatter Game to have students quickly match an input with something that can be written or drawn on the board.  It’s almost always review.

It can be competitive, and it has historically been known to get a little rowdy (I’ve heard of a staff meeting where people were jumping on tables playing this game.  Please note that this level of enthusiasm is neither typical nor necessary.)

What you need: two clean flyswatters and a large vertical writing space.

Here’s an example of how I used the Flyswatter Game at our end-of-session party to sneak in some review of our final topic, Present Continuous vs. Simple Present.

I wrote two phrases on the white board:  Present Continuous and Simple Present.

I prepared a numbered list of sentences before class.  Not surprisingly, they were all in either Present Continuous (PrCo) or Simple Present (SiPr).

I handed flyswatters to two students and had them stand at the front.  Their job: listen to what I read.  Is the sentence in PrCo or SiPr?  They should swat their answer as quickly as possible.  I read a couple of sentences for each pair.

After everyone has swatted, everyone goes again, but this time I relinquish my list of questions to the students, who will take turns being the teacher.

Other content possibilities:

  • listening for certain sounds – write approx. four phonemes on the board, have Ss swat what they hear
  • vocabulary review – write vocab words on the board, read the definitions to Ss, they swat the correct word
    NOTE: any worksheet with a word bank can become The Flyswatter Game very, very easily
  • low-literacy vocabulary review – draw or tape pictures on the board, read the noun to Ss, they swat the correct picture
  • alphabet review – write letters on the board, say individual letter names, Ss swat the correct one
  • advanced scanning practice – project two longer passages onto the board or wall.  Read a sentence from somewhere in one of the passages; Ss race to scan the text and find the passage the sentence is from)

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