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    By Suzanne Buza-Snead

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    Hello Julia!
    I have a really fun vocabulary game that my Instructional Coordinator showed me called "SWAT".
    You will need two fly swatters and index cards with the week's vocabulary words on them. I use words that appear in our stories that also appear in many other stories...not the harder words that the students would only see in that story, but you adjust it to fit your needs. On Monday, you introduce the game by beginning with a mini-lesson. In this lesson you ask the children to try to pronounce each word and ask them for a definition for each one. I do this on the overhead and the students must copy as we fill in the definition for each word in their Vocabulary/Reading spiral (this is for studying later). After the words have been defined by the students, invite them to sit in a circle on the carpet and explain "SWAT". This game has three very simple rules...
    1. Only the two students swatting can say and swat the word, the others can only mentally say and swat.
    2. Everyone must sit with their legs crossed the entire time.
    3. The fly swatter should only touch the cards on the floor not anything else.
    *If rules 1-3 are broken a first time, they will get a "look" from the teacher, if it happens again, they will have to return to their seat and study their words silently.

    The game is played first by...
    The teacher holds all cards in his/her hand and holds one up at a time. The students try to say the word. The teacher then asks if anyone sees other words that make up part of the v.word on the card (this is called "chunking"). After the chunking, ask for the definition, then lay the card face up on the carpet in the center of the circle.
    After all the cards have been scattered out, the teacher chooses two swatters and hands them a fly swatter each. Those players then choose two people to be "Card holders" for them. The swatters must stand on opposite sides of the circle of cards and must always hold the fly swatter at waist height.
    The teacher then calls out a definition and the swatters look for the word. The first swatter to swat the word and pronounce it correctly, gets the card. The rule of thumb if both swatters swat the card is the one that has his/her swatter on the bottom gets to guess first.
    The game progresses...when the last two cards are left, tell the swatters that after one defintion is called and responded to, to leave that card on the floor because as soon as there is only one card left, whoever can call out the word and give the definition for it, wins that last card.
    Whoever has the most cards at the end wins and gets to choose the next two players.

    Some tips:
    At the beginning of the week since the words are pretty new to everyone, I usually pick my quicker, more able readers to start the game. By the end of the week, everyone should have played once.

    On Friday I give a quiz over the words (between 5-10 depending on the size of the list and not ALL of the words) This forces the students to study all of the words. The quiz is usually matching or fill in the blank and they do this in their spiral (less paper to waste).

    As part of reading rotation, I have the students do the chunking on their own at the computer and print it out also.

    This game, once they get the hang of it should not last longer than 10 minutes per set of swatters.

    By Friday, I also change the way I call out answers to the swatters..for example, if the word is smile, I might say, "opposite of frown" or "this word contains the word "mile" or you could even use a fill in the blank response like, " When I am happy I do this...". This makes them think about the words in more depth...syllabication and vowels/consonants, verbs, nouns, and adjectives also work as clues to guessing the words.

    At the end of the week I always glue the cards to chart paper with the title, author and symbolic picture that reminds them of this story and hang the paper on a wire hanger hung from the ceiling. These charts become my word walls...and the kids will use them and remember them better when they see them in other readings.

    My kids look forward to playing this's fun!

    Good Luck!

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