Site icon Laura Randazzo – Solutions for the Secondary Classroom

Swat Teams are the Fun Fix

Ready to move beyond tired Jeopardy slides? Try a few rounds of the Flyswatter Game, a no-fail way to keep teens active and excited about test prep.

Six Easy Steps:
1. Create a list of review questions. I usually write at least 40 questions so everyone will have at least two chances to physically get up and play, but the team component helps every student be engaged for every question so you don’t actually need 40 questions for the game to be effective. Even just 20 questions would work in a pinch.

2. Post answer sheets around the room. Recently, I used these character name sheets from The Odyssey to help my freshmen review for their test. Colorful paper helps the answer sheets stand out from regular wall decor. (A ream of hot pink in the photocopy room? Score!) I made my sheets fancy with a frame and bold font, but you could just handwrite the characters’ names with a dark marker and be done more quickly.

3. With masking tape, make a box in the middle of the room.

4. When class begins, break students into two teams. I dangle two bonus points for every member of the winning team as the prize, which always guarantees total buy-in from the class while making next-to-no difference in the gradebook. (Shh…don’t tell ‘em that the points don’t matter much.)

5. Give each team a flyswatter.

Wait, these old ones are thrashed. Give me a second and let me run to the store…

That’s better. Use two different colored swatters so you’ll be able to easily determine which team wins each round.

6. Finally, game time! Each team sends one player to stand in the masking-tape box with his/her flyswatter. After I read the clue/review question, the two students race around the room to be the first to swat the correct answer sheet. The first one to touch the sheet with the flyswatter wins a point for his/her team. Teams are encouraged to help their player find the correct answer by pointing the way to the correct sheet.

WARNING: This game can get loud, so you might want to warn your neighbors the day before you play or institute a no-shouting rule. Also, I always announce the no-touch policy before we play – no pushing, shoving, blocking, or swatting an opponent. Failure to follow this rule results in a loss of point/s to the offending player’s team. It’s supposed to be a non-contact game, people.

I have print-and-play flyswatter games for The Odyssey, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Julius Caesar, and To Kill a Mockingbird available, but feel free to create your own set for any title. This simple-to-make game works for any unit of study, including grammar and vocabulary. Now, let’s have a little fun getting ready for final exams!

Teach on, everyone!

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