The Minimalist ALT
was inspired by a group of Japanese elementary school teachers I was training who told me they wanted to learn activities that require 'no preparation, no materials, and are time-flexible.' Don't we all!!
The result not only changed my own teaching style, it made my life at school a LOT easier! But more importantly, the students enjoy the classes and use English in real and meaningful ways.
Scroll down to learn how to teach... with less.

March 3, 2009

Pair Slap

materials: target sentence or question-and-answer pattern

time: 2-10 minutes

group size: seat pairs

-All students stand in seat pairs. One student is designated as student A, the other, student B.
-WRITE TWO SENTENCES on the blackboard. The two sentences should be similiar, for example, A-‘I like tennis.’ and B-‘I play tennis.’ or A-‘I like pink.’ and B-‘I like blue.’

Play- for listening accuracy
-A-students first repeat the A sentence after the teacher, then B-students repeat the B sentence.
-Paired students face each other, each holding one hand out as if shaking hands, BUT the 2 students’ hands are held 10-15 cm. apart.
-Teacher says, ‘READY!’ and reads one of the sentences aloud.
-If the A sentence is read aloud, the A-student tries to slap the other student’s hand (winning). The B-student, though, tries to pull his or her hand away before it is slapped (winning).

Play- for translation
-Teacher writes ONE sentence on the blackboard, in English or in Japanese.
-All students repeat.
-One of the pair (the A or B student) is told to slap if the translation is correct. The other student is told to slap if the translation is not correct. (on the blackboard- A-O B-X ).
-Teacher says, ‘READY!’ and reads the sentence aloud.
if points are awarded, correctly guessing students get one point for each correct guess.


  • For classes that don’t interact well in a free-moving activity like this, have the students Janken Conversation Round style-- seat pairs playing janken, and one side rotating back one seat after their conversation is finished.