Sunday, July 14, 2013

The Tall Girl Teaches: The Ultimate Teaching Tool

You'll want to invest in some tools to make your teaching experience easier. Reward pencils, stickers, good books, and quiet spray come to mind, but the best thing to buy is a pair of fly swatters.

Yes, you read that correctly. You'll need want come to desperately rely on fly swatters in the classroom. No, they're not used to prevent getting sticky hand prints and sneezes all over your nice new teaching clothes, or for getting kids to sit down.

They're for a game.

The best game ever - Swat. I first played this game in high school French (thank you, Mademoiselle), and it was called Tapette. Much more refined sounding than Swat, but what can you do - you teach English. Have you ever played it? You can use it to review vocabulary, cover grammar, or just for a fun break. It's a sneaky one - so fun no one realizes they're learning.

  • 3 fly swatters (it's likely one will get broken... the kids get really into this game!)
  • a minimum of 16 word cards and tape or sticky tack to make a 4 by 4 grid on the chalkboard
  • a question list for your word cards

How to play:
  • stick your word cards on the board in a grid
  • divide the class into two teams
  • choose one player from each team to come to the board
  • give them each a fly swatter (you may need to establish some rules. No hitting people with the fly swatter is a really good one)
  • read a question from your list
  • the students with the fly swatter must find the answer on the board
  • whoever swats the correct answer first gets a point for his or her team  
  • the team with the most points, of course, wins
I love this game - it gets everyone involved (even shy kids want a turn), it's easy to see who knows what and what may need to be reviewed in more detail. The game can end when you run out of questions, or you can keep going and modify them/review the ones no one knew to suit the time.

The kids will probably laugh hysterically when they you pull fly swatters out of your bag the first time. Other teachers will think you are out of your mind. But then the kids will cheer when they see a handle peeking out of your bag, and other teachers will be jealous of your popularity, and eventually you'll see fly swatters in the hands of math, history and science teachers as well.

It cost me one euro twenty to get my fly swatters, and a little bit of time to prep the word cards, but it has more than paid for itself in fun classes and confident students.

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