Criss cross or tate yoko as it is known to most Japanese junior high students is a simple junior high warm up game where you can avoid questions or may have to answer depending on if you are in the row or column of the person in the spotlight at that moment.

Basic Info

Time: 5 - 10 minutes
Level: Junior high grade 1 - 3
Works with: Dialogue, Q&A, speaking
Class size: Medium to large

You will need:


Lesson Description

  1. Everyone in the class stands up.
  2. You ask a question. Try to ask questions based on grammar the class has done in previous lessons.
  3. Choose someone to answer and if they get it right, the can choose tate or yoko (lengthwise or widthwise). Whichever they choose, everyone in that row or column can sit down and no longer have to answer the questions. Continue until everyone is sitting down.


  • The kids will naturally tend towards saying tate and yoko when you ask them which way they want to go. Encourage them to use "up and down" and "left and right" instead (slightly easier than row or column, but up to you).


  • Start with one row or column standing, everyone else sitting down. Ask questions and only the people standing answer. If they answer correctly, they can sit down. If you started with a row, the last person to answer is where the row turns to a column. (ie. The last person determines the next row or column.) Continue until the time runs out.


Often the last ones left will be in, say, a row but when you ask them they will say tate (lenghwise) meaning they sit down alone and leave the others standing. This is all fine and fun but it means less capables students are left at the end. So let the last kids off with easy questions!

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