Slap (Karuta in Japan)

Students sit on the floor in a circle, facing in, and 3 or 4 flash cards are laid out face up in front of them. They put their hands on their heads and the teacher calls out the name of one card, which the students must slap. That card is then taken out and set aside. The activity continues until all the cards have been called and slapped. It is important that children keep their hands away from the cards before you call an image. That will keep it fair and interesting. I always change the body part where children rest their hands. For example, “Touch your knees” then call out the flash card image. Every time you play the slap game can be a fun a quick review for body parts. You should always try to cover multiple targets with each game you do.

It can be competitive, by having students keep the cards they are first to touch. However, I usually prefer to keep the game a group effort and make sure that everyone touches the card before we put it to the side.

To make the game more fun, try to trick the students by calling out cards that aren’t there. You can also slap the wrong card, to make sure they are paying attention. This is very important for new students of English. They need to learn to listen and not just copy what the teacher or other students are doing. Remember that you don’t always have to be the “teacher.” Select students to call out images.

Try to keep students sitting down and not leaning over the cards, obstructing others’ view. Have them repeat the word on the flash card in a “big voice” as a class or individual after it has been slapped. Watch out for kids diving into the middle too zealously, risking bumping heads with others.

Key Expressions:
Touch your head, shoulders, etc. What’s this? What is it? etc. Don’t touch
“How many?” “How many cards do you have?” for older students. “I have 4 cards.” (at the end)

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