This game is also a new addition to my collection. I have tried it 4 times so far with my middle school students and it has been very popular. I learned about it from my Spanish colleague, Joan Conner who used it successfully with her class. Multas Gratias! It is a great warm-up for a long block (80 minutes or more) or simply a great activity on its own when students simply can't sit any more.
Ridiculously simple - always a a feature for me. You take about 20 pieces of 8x10 pieces of paper and write phrases on them that you want your students to become more familiar with. You can of course just write words but I think phrases work better. Here's a sample of some phrases I recently used. These are phrases based on Chapter 14 in Ecce Romani but of course any phrases will work. If you have a more concrete vocabulary list, you can make pictures instead of Latin phrases. This of course will take longer but ultimately is better for acquisition.
There should be at least one paper with a different phrase for each student. I would suggest making at least five extra. The second thing you need is a pool noodle or some other soft instrument a student use to "bop" or "tuxtax" someone's desk. Pool noodles are perfect because they are about 4 feet in length, make a satisfying thwack when they hit a desk but are completely non injurious.
How To Play:
Instruct the students to put their desks in a circle. There should be about 4 feet from the center of the circle to the desk. This isn't crucial but whoever is in the center should be able to get to reach the desks in one or two steps. Make sure that students are spread evenly around the circle. Now hand out the pieces of paper with the phrases on them. it's a good idea to have students pass the papers around making sure that everyone can read all of them. Instruct the students to hold up their paper with the words facing into the circle. Now find a volunteer to stand in the center of the circle with the pool noodle. You as a teacher yell out one of the phrases. Perhaps if you are using my set, you might yell, "Don't turn." If you have pictures instead of Latin phrases, the student would yell out the Latin for the picture. For example, you might have a picture of girls running, you would yell out, "Puellae currunt."
Now the person with the noodle has to look around the circle and identify the picture or phrase that was just called out and go over and smack the desk of the person holding that paper. The student holding the paper whose phrase was just called out has to call out another phrase in the circle. If he or she succeeds in calling out one of the phrases before the person with the noodle smacks their desk, then the noodle person has to now find that phrase. Of course, if the noodle person smacks their desk first, now that person is in the center and the person with the noodle takes their place in the circle. Play continues like this for about 20-30 minutes.
Tips to Make this Game Work: