Flashcards are placed on the floor in a line along the centre of the classroom, as shown below.
TA FC TB
#1s FC #1s
#2s FC #2s
#3s FC #3s
#4s FC #4s
#5s FC #5s
#6s FC #6s
The teacher gives the each of the #1 students a ball – let us say a small red ball to team A and a small blue ball to team B. (Actually the ball can be any object but it is nice for the students to take a hold of something fun and to choose the colour of their team’s object).
The #1s of each team passes their ball to the #2 student next to them. As they do so they ask the target language (TL) question. Let us say that the TL question is, “What colour is it?” and the FCs are colours. The #1s passes the ball to the #2s and says, “What colour is it?” The #2s takes the ball, and rather than answering the question they simply pass the ball on to the #3s while again asking, “What colour is it?” The ball continues along the line with each student saying the TL question as they pass the ball along. When the ball reaches the last student in the line (in the above diagram this would be the #6s), this student simply passes the ball back to the [#5s] and the ball goes back down the line in the opposite direction towards the #1s again (and when it reaches the #1s it goes back again).
So for each team you have a ball being passed up and down the line with the TL question being repeated by each student as they pass the ball along.
Finally the teacher shouts out one of the FCs (e.g. “Red!”). The student from each team who is holding a ball now jumps out of their chair and rushes to slap the [Red] FC. The first student to slap the FC and shout out the TL answer (e.g. “It’s Red!”) is the winner and is awarded points for their team.
The game then starts up again: “What colour is it, what colour is it, what colour is it, what colour is it, what colour is it …” Teacher shouts, “Purple!” and the two students holding a ball dive onto the floor, slap the purple FC and shout, “It’s purple!”
Although it takes a while to explain here in words, this game is really easy to set up and is a quick, fast paced activity. You can go through five or six rounds of passing the ball and slapping the FC until finally tallying up the scores to see which team is the overall winner. Either that or allow the first student to hit the FC to ‘collect’ that FC for their team. The team that has collected the most FCs by the end is the overall winner – and having less and less FCs on the floor each time can add to the excitement.
There are a few other ways of adjusting the game to make it slightly different. Optionally the teacher can turn to face the whiteboard so they cannot see who is holding the ball (adds to the fun and randomness). Also, rather than naming an FC for them to slap, the teacher can just shout, “Go!” and the students themselves can decide which FC to slap – maybe the Team A student decides to slap the blue FC, saying, “It’s blue!” while the Team B student goes for the orange FC, saying, “It’s orange.” When playing this version you can note down on a piece of paper how many points each [colour] is worth, then reward points at the end in an exciting round up: “So,” the teacher says, once all the FCs have been collected. “The [orange] FC was worth fifty points … which team collected the orange FC?” “The [yellow] FC was worth a hundred points … which team collected the orange FC?”
Of course this game is not only limited to “What colour is it?” and colours FCs. It can be played with whatever TL Q&A and FC vocabulary you happen to be teaching at the time.
“What are you doing?” with activities FCs
“What did you do yesterday? with past activities FCs
“What do you have?” with objects FCs
“What is it?” with animals FCs
“What can you do?” with that unit’s FCs
“Is it a …?” with the relevant FCs
“Can you …?” with abilities FCs
… and the list goes on.
As a final note, if you are worried about kids clashing heads as they dive on to the floor to slap the FCs, you can instruct them to slap the floor next to the FC on their team’s side of the classroom – if required you can mark out a space by drawing boxes or dots next to each FC.