Welcome to February, and this month we have for you two brand new games,
Valentine's ideas, a cool game for the Winter Olympics, and two major new
NEW GAME: Playing Card Time Game
This is a great game idea sent in by Genki English reader Neil Maher.
Level: 3rd and 4th grade Elementary
Resources: A deck of cards (2 decks if you have a
class bigger than 15 students)
This game is for getting the kids
asking each other "What time is it?" and answering "It's...o'clock" and
1. First teach the kids "What time is it?" and the
answers "It's...o'clock" and "It's...thirty".
2. Break the class into
small groups of 3 or 4. Give each group about 15 cards with at least 2 "face
cards" (king, queen, jack) and put them face down on the desk
3. Kid A
asks Kid B "What time is it?". Kid B pulls a card from the deck. If it is a
number card (such as 4 of diamonds) Kid B answers "It's 4 o'clock". Then Kid B
asks Kid C "What time is it?" and so on.
4. If Kid B pulls a face card
from the deck he then pulls other cards until he gets a number card (say 4 of
diamonds). Then he answers "It's 4 thirty". Then Kid B asks Kid C "What time is
it?". The face cards mean the half hour times.
Once they get the idea of
the game you can wander from group to group checking on them. The kids police
themselves and there is no cheating. The stronger students tend to help the
weaker ones as well. The game revolves around the tension of not knowing what
card the student is going to pull. For some reason they all think that
"it's…thirty" is more difficult than o'clock" but they all want to pull a face
card! This game is also good for checking on their pronunciation of thirty (so
often confused with thirteen).
This game has been officially classed by
my 3rd and 4th graders as being good fun and they keep asking to play
These two games are only in English at the moment, but I'll get the translations
done soon, keep checking the website!
If you have any original, effective games ideas then write them up, take
some pictures and if they're as good as this, we might be able to put them
on the website! Fame and glory await!!
Beside my birthday, February also sees Valentine's Day. This can be fun
to teach as different countries celebrate it in different ways. For example
in the UK both boys and girls give presents to people they like, but in
Japan it's only girls that give to boys - and sometimes even if they don't
really like them!! (Boys give girls presents on March 14th, "White
On the website there is a cool talking "Making a Valentine's Card" page, that should interest your students. It's good to illustrate cultural points, and to give them some practice in words such as "cut", "fold" and "colour"!
The 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics start soon. Theming lessons to
events like the Olympics is a great way to introduce some culture about
the host country, or indeed the participating countries. For normal language
lessons, it's also great for a little bit of added enthusiasm! One of my
favourite games to play is the Ski Game, which I created when the Nagano
Olympics was on 4 years ago. Have a go, it's good fun!!
There are also two big new articles on Genki English this month. One is
written by Christy Hamlett Cook from Gunma Prefectural Education Center,
and is a report on Elementary School English in Gunma, Japan. The report
is based on a survey taken by ALTs in the prefecture, and is very interesting
The other article is a complete introduction to Elementary School English
for Japanese Teachers. It was written by myself, and was originally published
by Oxford University Press last year. I've now put it on the website for
you to print out and show to your teachers. It goes through many of the
problems and worries that teachers face about Elementary School English
including Team Teaching, deciding what English to teach, using songs and
games, and most importantly lots of confidence building!