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(Shin Kei Gumi) Matching People Pairs

author:  William Ellor
level:  Elementary
target_English:  Anything
big_small:  Small Groups

This game is based on the classic childrens' "matching pairs" game that I'm sure most people played when they were really little, where you have a set of picture cards spread out face down and players take it in turns to turn over two cards and try to a make pair.

This game can be used to teach any target English, but for this example lets say the target phrase is "How are you?" and the various answers "I'm fine/happy/sad" etc.

First of all run through the target phrase with the kids so they're all reasonably comfortable with it.

With the kids sitting at their desks (or spread out in the gym) give each kid a small card which represents one of the various answers.  For example a card with a smilie face on it would represent "I'm happy", sad face; "I'm sad" and so on.  Its important the the kids keep their card a secret. 
The number of cards that you will need depends on the size of the class but for a class of about 30, make 4 or 5 cards for each answer, depending on the number of answers there are.

Make sure that everyone knows the answer that their card represents.

Choose one kid to come to the front of the class.
The object of the game is to find matching pairs.
The kid at the front chooses somebody, anybody and asks them: "Mr/Miss _____, how are you?"
That person then replies with the answer on their card, so if they happen to be holding the smilie face card, they reply: "I'm happy."

The kid at the front then picks ANOTHER person and asks them the same question.
If the two answers match, GREAT!  The kid at the front gets to have another go.  If they don't match, never mind, he/she sits down and somebody else comes to the front to have a go.

Make sure that everyone knows that the object is remember where the various answers are.

When a pair is made, the two children who answered get new cards so the game can continue indefinitely.

To make it more competitive, split the class into teams first and award a point to each team for pairs made.  I've also done it awarding small prizes to anyone who could make a pair for end of term lessons and that sort of thing which went down really well.

This game is good because the kids are so busy trying to remember where the various answers are, they don't worry about the English and it soon becomes second nature to them.

Hint: Make sure the kids know that they aren't trying to make a pair with the card they're holding, when they come to the front, their card doesn't matter at all.

This game is called Shin Kei Gumi Pairs because in Japan the game pairs is called Shin Kei Sui Jaku ( which actually means "nervous breakdown"! - Richard ) but I could never remember that, Shin Kei Gumi was a close as I could get.  Feel free to call it what you like.

Have fun!

William Ellor

( There are some online "Shin Kei Sui Jaku" games on the Phonics page and Japanese pages - Richard)

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