Slap the Board

‘Slap the Board’ is fun and competitive way to get students repeating target vocabulary or grammar structures. It’s perfect for getting students out of their chairs and reinforcing what they’ve just learned in the book. Better yet, it can be graded in difficulty and made adaptable for different abilities.

Ages: Children – Teens

Levels: Beginner – Intermediate

Materials: flashcards, fly swatters (optional)

In its most basic form, Slap the Board is used as a vocabulary game. If you’re teaching young children and you have flashcards, tape the flashcards to the board. Divide the class into two, or possibly three teams. Invite one student from each group to come to the front. Call out one of the vocabulary words. Students race to the board and slap the flashcard (either by hand or flyswatter), calling out the word as they do so; whoever is first earns a point for his/her team. A student can be assigned the role of teacher to call out the words.

Perhaps your students are learning how to spell. In that case, invert the activity. Write the words on the board, and instead of calling out a word, show them a flashcard. They race to slap the word corresponding to the flashcard, perhaps spelling it before saying it.

For more advanced students the game works better by focusing on a question and answer. Perhaps the grammar structure is ‘Where are you going?’ and ‘I’m going to the (blank). The students who are sitting ask the question and the players race to slap the word corresponding to the flashcard you show them, then answer the question.

It’s important that the students vocalize the vocabulary or grammar. It’s easy for the game to devolve into a slapping match with little English spoken. Award points only for those who call out the vocab or grammar as they slap it.

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