Long Practice Games

Explanation

These activities are best used to practice using target language using defined communicative patterns, a step between practicing simply vocabulary and using independent ideas. This is necessary to reduce user thinking time and increase user confidence before independent activities.

Board Game

  1. Make a worksheet with a start, an end, and many spaces in between. Put vocabulary words into these spaces.
  2. Divide students into small groups, and give each a worksheet.
  3. Students use an eraser as a playing piece.
  4. Students roll a dice, move their playing piece, and say the word at the space where they moved.
  5. Continue the game until a student has reached the end or time has run out.

Board Game Variations

  1. Normal dice (1-6) are cheap, but may be allow the game to move too quickly. Making cardboard dice numbered from 1-3 requires some effort, but allows for a longer game.
  2. If there are no dice, have students janken. Only winning students get to move according to these rules: paper moves 3 spaces, scissors moves 2 spaces, and rock moves 1 space.
  3. Instead of using dice and printing vocabulary words onto board game sheets, use vocabulary cards with numbers. Students draw a card, say the word on the card, and move the number of spaces on the card.
  4. For more advanced classes, have students use target sentence along with the vocabulary (e.g.: Do you like apples?)

Preparation: Difficult

Materials:

  • Dice or numbered vocabulary cards
  • Board game worksheets
  • Students’ erasers

Grade Target: Middle to High

 

Card Gathering Game (カード集めゲーム: Card Atsume Game)

  1. Give all students multiple cards (at least three).
  2. Students walk around and greet and janken when they meet.
  3. Students use target sentence to:
    1. Pick a target card and gather only that card (Do you have a rabbit?).
    2. Gather as many cards as they can (Rabbit, please).
  4. If the opposing student does not have the requested card, the winning student cannot get a card.
  5. Students who lose all their cards can ask the teacher for more cards or sit down.
  6. The students with the most cards win the game.

Preparation: Moderate

Materials:

  • Many sets of small cards

Grade Target: All

Concentration/Match the Cards (神経衰弱: Shinkei Suijaku)

  1. Divide the class into small groups.
  2. Give each group two (or another even number) sets of vocabulary cards.
  3. One student turns over two cards and says the word or target sentence according to each card.
  4. If the cards match, the student gets the cards. If they don’t match, the student turns the cards back over.
  5. Another student turns over two cards and does the same.
  6. Continue this until there are no cards left.
  7. The student who gets the most cards wins.

Preparation: Difficult

Materials:

  • Many sets of small cards

Grade Target: Middle to High

 

Crash Janken (ドンじゃんけん: Don Janken)

  1. Split the class into two teams.
  2. Use the blackboard, tables, or floor to make a line of vocabulary cards.
  3. The first student from each team starts from either end of the line, touches the card, and reads words or sentences one by one.
  4. The opposing students continue until they meet.
  5. When they meet, they janken and the winner continues, while the loser goes back to his team.
  6. The next student from the losing team begins from the team’s starting point.
  7. The team that gets to the other team’s starting point wins, or set a timer and the team which is closest to the opposite starting point wins.

Preparation: Easy

Materials:

  • Flashcards or small cards

Grade Target: All

Evolution

This game works well for vocabulary that increases or progresses, such as animals (increasing in size), days, or numbers.

  1. Make a spiral-type board with highest values in the center and the lowest value at the outermost position.  The lowest value (outermost position) is the start position, with the highest center value the goal.
  2. Students walk around, meet, greet, and use the target sentence (e.g.: Hi, I’m a mouse).
  3. Students janken. The winner progresses to the next value (e.g.: Hi, I’m a cat), while the loser either (A) does not move or (B) goes back a place.
  4. Once students have reached the end, they can either sit down, show the teacher that they have finished, or continue to walk around and janken, but without regressing.

Preparation: Moderate

Materials:

  • Evolution worksheets

Grade Target: All

Go Fish

    1. Give vocabulary card sets to student groups. There should be even numbers of sets for each group.
    2. Deal three to five cards to each student in a group, and place the remaining cards face down in a pile in the center of the table.
    3. If the students have pairs in their hand, they place them on the table, saying the target word or sentence.
    4. The students try to make pairs by using the target sentence to ask other students for cards.

Example:
If Student 2 has the potato card:
Student 1: Do you have any potatoes?
Student 2: Yes, I do. Here you are (Pass the card to Student 1).
If Student 2 doesn’t have the card:
Student 1: Do you have any potatoes?
Student 2: No, I don’t. (Student 1 takes a
card from the center of the table
).

  1. The game continues until one student has no cards left.  The winter is the student with the most pairs.

Preparation: Difficult

Materials:

  • Many sets of small cards

Grade Target: High

Old Maid

  1. Divide students into groups and give each group multiple sets of cards.
  2. Shuffle the card sets and deal all the cards to the students.
  3. Students discard matching pairs of cards and say the word using the target sentence.
  4. Students janken to see who goes first.
  5. The first student picks a card from the second student’s cards.
  6. If it matches a card in the first student’s cards, the student discards the pair and say the word using the target sentence.
  7. The second student picks a card from the third student’s cards and discards any pairs.
  8. The winner is the first student with no cards.

Old Maid Variation: Babanuki (ババ抜き)

  1. Include a wild card or Joker in each set of cards.
  2. Shuffle card sets and deal all cards to the students.
  3. The first student picks a card from the second student’s cards and discards pairs while saying the target sentence.
  4. The second student picks a card from the third student’s cards and discards pairs while saying the target sentence.
  5. Students who run out of cards are safe.
  6. The student who is left holding the wild card or Joker is the loser (馬場: baba).

Preparation: Difficult

Materials:

  • Many sets of small vocabulary cards

Grade Target: Middle to High

Pair Search (ペア探し: pair sagashi)

  1. Make multiple sets of cards and ensure that there are enough for even numbers of all students.
  2. Give all students a card and have teachers join in if there is not an even number of students.
  3. Students walk around, greet, and use the target sentence to see if other students have the same card (Do you have a dog?).
  4. Students who find their pair sit down.
  5. The last students to find their pair must demonstrate the target sentence.
  6. With larger classes, finding groups of three or four is also possible.

Preparation: Moderate

Materials:

  • Many sets of small cards

Grade Target: All

Pig

  1. Divide the class into groups and give each group multiple sets of small cards.
  2. Prepare many sets of P, I, and G cards.
  3. Students place the cards face down in a stack in the center of the group.
  4. The teacher chooses a card (or several) to be “pig” cards.
  5. The first student in the group draws a card and puts it face down next to the center stack, saying the vocabulary word or target sentence.
  6. The second and other students do the same.
  7. If a student draws a “pig” card, all the students race to touch their noses. The last student to touch their nose gets 1 a P card.
  8. If students already have a P card, they get an I card, and if they have an I card, they get a G card.
  9. Once a student has all three P, I, and G cards, they are a “pig” and quit the game.
  10. The last student remaining is the winner.

Preparation: Difficult

Materials:

  • Many sets of small vocabulary cards
  • Many sets of P, I, and G cards

Grade Target: Middle to High

Pig Tail

  1. Divide the class into groups and give each group multiple sets of small cards.
  2. Students place the cards face down in a big circle in the center of the group.
  3. The first student in the group takes a card without showing other students. The student places the card face up in the center of the big circle of cards, but says a word or sentence according to the card.
  4. The next student does the same. Bit by bit, cards will accumulate in the center of the circle.
  5. If a student puts a card in the center that is the same as another card in the center, all the students race to touch the cards in the center.
  6. The last student to touch the cards has to take all the cards in the center. This student keeps the cards face down in a pile in front of them and picks up cards from this pile instead of from the big circle of cards. If the pile is used up, the student returns to picking cards from the big circle of cards.
  7. When all the cards in the big circle of cards have been taken, the students with no card piles in front of them win.

Preparation: Difficult

Materials:

  • Many sets of small vocabulary cards

Grade Target: Middle to High

Points

  1. Place many point cards face down on the floor around the room (at least one for each student). These point cards should have a 1, 2, or 3 on them.
  2. Place phonics or vocabulary cards on top of each point card.
  3. March around the room with the class.
  4. When the teacher says “Stop!”, all the students race to one of the vocabulary cards.
  5. Ask each student to hold up the card and say the sound or word. If they say it correctly, they get the number of points on the card.
  6. Put the phonics or vocabulary cards down on different point cards and repeat the game.

Preparation: Difficult

Materials:

  • Several sets of small vocabulary or phonics cards
  • Many sets of 1,2, and 3 point cards

Grade Target: All

Train Game (電車ごっこ: Densha Gokko)

  1. Give all students a target card.
  2. Students walk around, greet, use the target sentence, and janken.
  3. Losers follow around the winners and place their hands on the shoulders of the winners.
  4. These small “trains” continue to walk around, greet, and janken.
  5. Continue until all students have formed a large train.

Train Game Variations

  1. Have all students attach only to those with the same vocabulary card.
  2. If the target is very simple, such as feelings or names, no cards are necessary.

Preparation: Moderate

Materials:

  • Many sets of small cards

Grade Target: Low to Middle

War

  1. Divide students into pairs or small teams.
  2. Give each student or team a set of small cards, shuffled into a face down stack.
  3. One student from each team puts their first card face up on the table.
  4. The student who can say the word or target sentence of their card first gets both cards.
  5. If both students say the word or sentence at the same time, or can’t say the word, leave the cards on the table and put the next cards down.
  6. The team with the most cards after five minutes wins.

Preparation: Difficult

Materials:

  • Many sets of small cards

Grade Target: High