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The Hammer Paatii

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This is a variation on karuta, which is good for reviewing vocab and waking up a languid group of kids.
Buy two plastic (or inflatable) hammers. The ones I use are small, accordion-ribbed dealies that make a squeaking sound when you hit something--about as harmful as a wiffle bat, and twice as fun. You can find them at 100 yen stores.
Next, divide the kids into two teams. Then, spread the flashcards out in a small space on the floor or on a desktop. Finally, choose a kid from each team to demonstrate the game. Basically, you just call out a vocab word and the first kid to hammer it gets a point for his / her team. Simple stuff, obviously, but a fast-paced and energizing way to spend 10 minutes of review time.
Variation: "Smash and Grab"
This is a good follow-up to the above-listed game, since it uses the same materials.
First, lay out three vocab cards on the floor and explain that you are going to say the name of a card before trying to grab that card. Let each student take his / her turn at bat (er..hammer), then have the S sit in front of the cards. Explain that he / she must hit the card named (or the your hand) before you take the card away.
Again, the non-lethal nature of the hammer is of value and Ss may welcome the chance to bash the hand that teaches them.
Will Habington. Takada, Japan

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