Genki English Newsletter

March 2001

Hello! Welcome to this month's Genki English. I'm in Europe now, looking at how languages are taught over here. It's amazing how different countries approach the subject, and the results they achieve! One thing I have found is that using the Internet for teaching languages is great, there are so many things that can be done with video, interactively and pages that talk. Just imagine what we'll be able to do next year! OK, let's start with this month's new game....

Piano Game

Target Grade: 2 to Adult
Target language: Numbers, colours, animals, any vocab!
Preparation: A piano or musical keyboard, some small stickers, stopwatch

This is a great game for teaching cross-curricular activities of music and language. Teach the kids the target English, for example numbers (remember, teaching 1 to 12 is better than 1 to 10 as it means you can easily jump to telling the time!!). On the piano, start with middle C (ask a music teacher!), and place a small sticker on it. Label this sticker "1". Go to the next white note, D, and put a sticker with the number "2" on it. Keep going until you have 12 white keys labelled 1 to 12. If you are teaching colours or animals, simply label each key with a different colour or animal!

1. Split the kids into groups. Each group splits into 2.

2. One half of one group goes to the back of the class. The other half stand by the paino at the front.

3. Start the stopwatch

4. The kids at the back read out a series of numbers, in the target language (of course!), from a list that you give them (see below!).

5. The kids at the front play these numbers on the piano. i.e. if they hear "3" they hit the key with "3" written on it.

6. The team members listen and if they can say the title of the tune they get 10 points. Stop the stopwatch!

7. Choose a new group and repeat from step 2.

 In the class, you could even split the activity in 2, the kids at the back read the numbers out, the kids at the front write them down on the board, then they have a go at playing them. For animals, food, colours etc. it's best to prepare some picture cards in advance!

During the game, if anyone speaks their native language,  it's plus 5 seconds!

At the end of the game the team with the quickest time gets an extra 10 bonus points. The stopwatch is very important to add tension to the game!

This game needs a bit of preparation, but I think it could become a classic like the Hammer Game or Star Wars Game! On the homepage there's actually a version you can play on-line!

Remember there are also lots of "quick and easy" games on Genki English, check out The Drawing Game ( ), the Group Game ( ) or ATW ( ). The easiest way to get an idea is to use the Random Game Button ( )

Genki Phonics!

We've been looking at doing some phonics things for quite some time now, but it always seemed so academic and not too fun! But with this new page I think I've managed to Genkify it!! The idea of phonics is that rather than simply learning to recite the alphabet, the kids learn the different sounds English letters have, and then use these to read words. The problem is that if you use books, you can't hear the sounds, and if you use cassettes or CDs, you can't see the letters! So I took some of the basic ideas and designed a web page where you move over the letters and can actually hear the different sounds spoken! I've covered the vowels, consonants and several "blends" and "combinations" (where you put different sounds together!). So if you're teaching reading, this is the place to look!

I actually got the phonics idea from working on a Katakana/Hiragana page for the new Genki Japan section. If you're learning Japanese, have a look at the page where you can move the mouse over the Japanese characters and hear them spoken!

There's also a section where we'll email you a cool Japanese phrase every week - even to your mobile phone. Plus there is a culture section (featuring my playable o-koto!).

We're also looking to include a guide to the various areas of Japan. So I've got a bit of a favour to ask! If you live in Japan, if you could write down some info that you think may be useful to visitors to your area, then please send it to me and I'll put it on the site! The problem with most travel guides is that they do Tokyo, Kyoto and leave out the rest, so if you want fame for your area, please write a few lines and send them off to me! The page is also formatted for i-mode or j-phone mobiles (simply type in ), so when you're actually travelling around you'll be able to check out restaurants, places to stay etc. where you are!!

If you want an idea of want I'd like to do, check out the excellent Mie prefecture web page designed by Dave Kelsey!

French, Italian, Spanish, Korean......

One main feature of Genki English is that all the games and ideas have pages in English and Japanese. The idea is that for people who team teach, you can have versions of the game printed out in each language. All the English and Japanese I actually write myself. But of course, many Genki English viewers don't come from Japan! So now there is a new feature on the page where you can automatically translate the pages into French, German, Spanish, Italian, Korean, Russian, Portugeuse or Chinese! So you too can see the page in your own language. It sometimes throws up some strange and interesting sentences, but on the whole it's quite good! So if you teach in a country that has one of the languages featured, have a go, it should make lesson planning a lot easier! The target language actually depends on the settings on your browser, put a message on the message board if you want any help!

I'm actually in Europe at the moment, PRing Genki English and doing research into language teaching over here. I'll be in France this month, so get in touch if there's anything I can do to help! I'll be back in Asia in April! Which leads in to ..........

Genki English Live in Kobe and Iwate!

Unfortunately as I'm Europe I won't be able to attend the ALC Kobe English Exposition, but Will Jasprizza will be there representing Genki English!!! He'll be doing a killer Genki English show for the kids, featuring our games, songs and dances (!!). Then he'll  be doing a presentation in Japanese showing loads of great ideas for getting the most out of teaching at elementary schools. Ask your teachers or students to come along and join in, it'll be an amazing atmosphere! Check out the webpage at......

There'll also be a Genki English show in Iwate prefecture, where Jamie "Hutch" Hutchinson will be performing on March 12th!

From April we'll be back in Japan planning Shows and Seminars all over the country. We can't do them for free this time, but they'll be just as spectacular, if you would like us to attend somewhere near you, then get in touch! Email:

An Interview with Genki English

In the February issue of the Japanese magazine "kids com" , they carried a four page interview with us (complete with some groovy photographs!!). The English version of the interview is now on their website (minus groovy photographs!!). So if you want to know about what Genki English is, how the tour and website started and the future of Genki English, have a look!

TESOL Quizzes

I was asked by Charles Kelly (a genius Web designer!) of the internet TESOL journal to do some easy level quizzes (for advanced elementary kids, or junior high) the other day, you can check them out online at:
       Choose a Word (Richard Graham)
       Odd One Out 2 (Richard Graham)
       Commonly Heard Questions (Richard Graham)

They did have genkier titles, but they got changed ; )

Link to Us

If you have your own webpage, then please feel free to link to Genki English, there is now a section to help you do just that, And a big thank you to all the people who have linked to us!!

I always keep adding to the page, and then when I come to do the newsletter I realise there's far too much stuff!!! Thanks for everyone's comments and question this month, they've certainly kept me on my toes!!! As usual, if there's anything you'd like to see on the site, or if you have any questions, then get in touch!!

If you know of anyone who might be interested in anything in this newsletter, then please feel free to forward it onto them!

And finally, THIS is what we mean by Genki!

If you've ever wondered what being Genki in class means, just check out this video of the How are you? song. Now THIS is being Genki!

We did a show in school in Ehime in December and the teachers were so impressed that they invited us to do a normal lesson for the 6th grade kids. The kids don't have regular English lessons, but with 5 minutes to learn the new vocab and 10 minutes practice with a game they could do this!! This way of teaching really works and really gets results !

But some of you might be thinking "Yeah, but look at the effort he's putting in!". Well, yeah it's true. On the website I try to present as many games, songs and ideas as I can. But then it's up to you! If you go into a class all sad and depressed, the kids will go"Forget this!" and do nothing. But if you go in there full of energy, being genki,  and trying your best, the kids will go "Wow!". They'll get motivated and excited and they'll end up giving all the energy back to you a hundred fold, and everyone will walk out of the class feeling on top of the world! Even if you're not feeling very energetic, make yourself Genki! The kids will pick up on it and you'll end up feeling amazingly Genki for the rest of the day (and anyone who saw my partying and then presentation at the Kumamoto Conference will agree I think!!!). The trick is "Think Genki, Be Genki!". If you put in the energy and effort, everyone can have kids as good as in this video!!!

Till next month,

Be genki,


Richard J. Graham 
Primary School English Games, Songs and Activities 

Previous Newsletters: 

February 2001 Newsletter
January 2001 Newsletter
December 2000 Newsletter!
November 2000 Newsletter
September/October 2000 Newsletter
August/September 2000 Newsletter

July/August 2000 Newsletter
June/July 2000 Newsletter
May/June 2000 Newsletter
April/May 2000 Newsletter
March/April 2000 Newsletter
February/March 2000 Newsletter
January/February 2000 Newsletter


Sign up to get my top tips, games & hints via email!

Copyright (C) 1999/2023 by Richard Graham
Main Menu -|- Buy the Set -|- Contact Me