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Swotting Words

“Swotting Words” is a good title for this activity, though some of you won’t understand the word “swot”, which is British English for “to study assiduously”; assiduous is hardly the easiest of words in itself. Anyway, you need some flash cards with pictures on one side and words on the other. I have chosen to use the flash cards (CW3 Fash Cards Set 1) which go with the workbook Concepts Worksheets 3 and you can download them freely, as a PDF, from here. There are 64 cards supporting the graphemes /th/(voiced and unvoiced), /ph/ and /wh/, which covers all the related vocabulary in the workbook and some extra.


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Let me try and describe how to play the game with a small group of four students. Scatter all the cards which you want to use face down (word up) on your playing surface, give three children a flyswatter each (the child without cannot play). The teacher calls out the first word “whisk” and one of the children reads and swats the word and that card is turned over and remains in place. The child who hit the word now gives the flyswatter to the student without. Keep the pace up, so that your faster students are kept busy passing the flyswatter, so giving your slower students more time to slam. When you get near the end of the game, sometimes call out words which are not on the table and if their child makes a mistake you can have a penalty, such as the student must forfeit a card or pass the flyswatter to another student, you can even take a flyswatter out of the game at this stage.


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All the cards are now face up and we are ready for the second stage of the game, this stage will give you a clear indication of your group’s vocabulary knowledge. The child without a flyswatter calls out five cards one by one and the other children hit the cards and repeat the words, the student who does this first gets to keep the card, which is now turned face down in front of that student to take the card out of the game, but if two students swat the card at the same time then they can jan-ken for the game. I usually have them jan-ken using a short sentence or a phrase, something like “She’s my mother.”, “rainy weather” and so on. Eventually you will get to a stage where a student doesn’t recognise any more for items and that students can now “pass”. If all the students “pass”, then the teacher may decide to do some work with the vocabulary on the table by playing some other games with the remaining cards or we can just continue, as we will here.


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We are now going to do a spelling activity and either a student or the teacher can choose which set of cards to work with, here you can see that this student, by hitting the card with the sticky ball, has chosen the unvoiced /th/ cards. I will leave the “/th/ I’m thinking.” card on the board to assist the students. I have chosen to play Read Spell Do for this activity. The students will need a notebook and pencil and you will need a RSD playing board which you can download freely from here or you can purchase an XL board from ETJ Book Service. You can either use some of your own “Read” and “Do” cards or purchase them online. I’ve included the rules, which can be played around with, with the board so I won’t go into detail (another day perhaps), suffice to say that when a word is to be spelled all the children participate in the spelling, but the reading and the action are individual activities.


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