Flyswatter Game ALL in the TL

Posted by Kara Parker on October 29, 2015 in Games, Vocabulary Building, What's New

The flyswatter game has always been a student favorite, and a great activity to add to the lesson plan on those hyper days – oh you know, like pep rally days, full moon days or the day before a break. However, the original game is based on translating words or conjugating with verb endings. Here are 3 ways to keep it ALL in the target language!

Traditionally the flyswatter game is played by putting the vocabulary words in one language all over the board or a wall. There are two teams. One student from each team comes to the board and has a flyswatter. A caller, usually the teacher, says the translation of a word and the students race to swat the correct translation first. But let’s mix it up a bit to keep it in the TL!


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Categories: Dessert, Dinner, Drink, Breakfast

imageCATEGORIES

Put categories in the TL on the board and call out words and phrases in TL. Students will swat the category that the item belongs. This is good for all novice levels and up to reinforce key words that they can use to circumlocute. Also this allows the vocabulary list to be limitless and it’s easy to reuse. I can type out 4 or 5 categories a lot faster than I can put all the specific words. Bonus!

Examples

Shopping/El Corte Inglés~ BOARD: food/clothes/toys/electronics (departments) – WORDS: shirt, chicken, headphones, bike, etc.

Music~ BOARD: song descriptors/artist information/feeling/themes – WORDS: Enrique, fast, love, hate, slow, sadness, etc.

Activities~ BOARD: inside activity/outside activity/both OR fall/winter/spring/summer – WORDS: soccer, bowling, volleyball, football, cross country, track, skiing, etc.

Foods~ BOARD: breakfast/lunch/dinner/snack OR vegetable/fruit/meat OR main course/side/desert/drink OR Japan/Argentina/Korea/Italy/China/France/Costa Rica/German (or use nationalities) – WORDS: beans, lettuce, chicken, strawberry, etc.

Screen Shot 2015-10-27 at 10.39.51 AM

Japan/Argentina/Korea/Italy/China/France/Costa Rica/German


Comparisons: Spain/Both/United States

Comparisons: Spain/Both/United States

COMPARISONS

Basically you are creating a Venn Diagram for them. Sometimes this one becomes a great debate! Defend your answer (in TL of course) and maybe I’ll accept the answer…

Examples

Holidays~ BOARD: Halloween/Day of the Dead/Both – WORDS: skulls, mole, paper picado, vampires, ofrendas, costumes

Countries~ BOARD: Spain/Both/U.S. – WORDS: (traditional foods) gazpacho, morcilla, serrano ham, paella, tortilla española, turrón, mashed potatoes, hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken soup

Traditions~ BOARD: Flamenco/Both/Tango – WORDS: guitar, castanets, vocals, sad, happy, partners, alone, fast, slow, Argentina, Spain


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DESCRIPTIONS

Put TL words or pictures on the board, then describe the word. This one is great for targeting novice high and up. Also it is so powerful for them to come up with the descriptions for the “descriptions” version.

Examples

Food~ BOARD: (words or pictures): sushi/kimchi/flan/mate/chow mein/cannoli/gallo pinto/bacalao – EXAMPLE DESCRIPTION: “it is a breakfast food… from Costa Rica… it has rice and beans”

New Year’s~ BOARD: (words or pictures): grapes/clock/plaza/celebrate/eat/friends/family – EXAMPLE DESCRIPTION: “a food that is eaten… traditionally they eat 12 of them… it is a fruit”


I think it helps to play this as a whole-class activity the first time they play. It’s easy to explain the directions in the TL too. Then it makes a great station activity for a small group. They get more playing time and they don’t need a teacher to lead it (they love being the caller). I put the general directions in the TL on a station sign and reuse it. I’ll even leave it set up in the room where they can play if they finish early. They like to add their own words too.

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Karla Garza (Spanish teacher in Texas) presented about a similar game called “Matapulgas” (Flea killer) where they have partners and a paper with the words/pictures. They use their fingers to be the first to “squash” it. Another partner version is what we call “Circle it” (click to read).

So this game idea is not a new one by any means. But I love taking games they like and altering them to fit my goal of 90% target language. We have a few Matamoscas games for Día de los Muertos, food and activities in the Mercado.

Do you have any other ideas to keep this game in the TL?

 

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8 comments for “Flyswatter Game ALL in the TL”

  1. Madame Kurtz says:

    I’ve played the flyswatter game with my students but never used English translations. We put pictures of the vocabulary on papers on the board & the teacher calls out the vocabulary word in the TL. Often, I’ll have the students draw the vocab as a homework assignment the night before. To increase the challenge & to help novices learn to recognize familiar vocabulary, I’ve started saying a whole sentence in the TL with the vocab word matching the picture embedded in the sentence. ie Food “I love to eat CHICKEN.” or “EGGS are a good breakfast food.” The students don’t have to understand the whole sentence, although you could use only sentences they know, they just have to listen for the words that match the pictures. Then we re-use the pictures: do now/exit ticket – identify the food, do you like the food, what color is the food, etc.

    Thanks for the tip to put reusable categories up on the board. I also like the suggestion to use it as a station and/or have student callers. The students love this game but sometimes it doesn’t seem “stringent” enough. Your suggestions will help.

    1. Kara Parker says:

      Glad to help out. Thanks for sharing your tips too!

  2. This came on the perfect day for me. 🙂 Here’s how we’re going to play tomorrow-
    My students are NL working on NM and we’ve been working on “cosa, lugar, persona” for beginning circumlocution/categorizing and also “tengo.” So I’m going to put the categories “cosa, lugar, persona” up and call words for them to run up and swat. Then, I’m going to put the categories “mochila, carro, casa” up and call out something – libro, gato, madre – and someone on the team who actually has the thing in a particular place has to run up and hit the place and tell us all, “Tengo [un gato] en mi casa.” Etc.
    ¡GRACIAS Kara!

    1. Kara Parker says:

      Nice! A “what” board and a “where” board + say the phrase. Thanks for sharing Sara-Elizabeth!

  3. Ivonne Roviraa says:

    Brilliant, as always! BTW, love the flyswatters. 😉

    1. Kara Parker says:

      Thanks to you for those lovely swatters!

  4. Christa says:

    Planning on reading an article about what foods are in season, and then we can do the flyswatter game with “la primavera”, “el verano”, “el otoño” and “el invierno” on the board and students can identify which foods are in season in the different seasons.

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