The Vocab Games: Flyswatter

All you need to play this fun game is two flyswatters, a whiteboard, whiteboard markers, and a vocabulary list.  I first observed this game in a colleague’s Spanish class, and it remains a favorite for world language teachers.  However, excitement about it has spread, and I now know science and CTE teachers who also regularly play it.


The game is simple.

Write a series of words that your class has been studying on different spots on your whiteboard.  If you have a BenQ , Smartboard, or projector you could also project them from a computer file (such as PowerPoint or Word).

Divide your class into two large teams. Have one representative from each team come to the front with a flyswatter.

Provide an example, definition, or clue for one of the vocabulary words.  Once students determine the word, they slap it with the flyswatter. Whoever’s flyswatter lands on the word first scores a point for his or her team.  The defeated player leaves, and the “winner” selects a new challenger from the opposing team.

This routine goes on until all words have been discussed or until a pre-designated score has been reached.

This is a video of Flyswatter that a teacher has posted on YouTube. 

At first, I thought that many students would not been engaged during this game, since only two players are doing the actual swatting. However, I’ve noticed that students really enjoy watching their peers play, seeing whether or not they know the words, and anticipating of when they might be called and what word they will be asked to determine.

I have only used a Flyswatter a couple of times, but, as I said, many of my colleagues love it.  Have you used Flyswatter before? Would you do it again? What do you do differently from what I described in this post? Please share your expertise in the comments.

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