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Author = Brian Shepherd
Level = Elementary
Target_English = vocabulary review
Big_small = Small Groups
What you'll need: a box, lots of flash cards, a minimum of 10 students
Clear out the desks. Using four chairs, make a baseball diamond the size of the classroom. It works best if the front of the classroom serves as home plate. Move the podium to the middle of the classroom. This is the pitchers' mound. Divide the students into two teams (Yankees and Mariners or something fun like that). Uneven teams mean that students will not continually go up against the same person, a plus in this game. Take a box, preferably wider and longer than A4 paper, and fold the bottom flaps in. The box now serves as a blind to hide your flash cards from the students on first and third base. Ready your stack of flash cards on your pitcher's mound (podium). You are the pitcher. Put a student from each team on each base.
As the pitcher, you will show the students at home plate a card through the hole you have created in the box. Once the students at home plate see the card, they dash to first, whisper the word from the card to their teammates. Then the students at first run to second and whisper the word to the second base students. The second base students run to third and whisper the word to the third base students, and then finally the third base students run to home where they shout the word out to you (or the home room teacher, who may serve as the umpire). The team to cross home first and say the word correctly scores one home run. If the word is incorrect, the student can return to third to recheck their answer with their teammate. If the students cross home at the same time, have them janken (in English) to see who gets to give the answer first. The students continue to rotate around the bases, serving one turn at each base until they reach home. The main pressure in this game lies on the student who is at home plate. They will be the only student to see the card. If they don't know the English word they may hesitate or give up. For this reason, I tell them that if they don't know the English they may use the Japanese word, hoping that one of their teammates at first, second, or third base know the word in English. Of course, if the word goes all the way around the bases and the third basemen crosses home plate and shouts the Japanese word, no points are given. But usually someone on the team will know the word in English before the word travels around the bases. And even if they don't, the fun of the game for the students is racing around the bases. Before starting the game, decide how many you want to go until.
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