This warm up has students reviewing recently studied grammar in a very focused way. One student provides the Japanese and the next, the English. Play it out in a quick-fire way and students get caught up and can really enjoy reviewing grammar this way.

The difficult part of this activity is selecting the right grammar to focus on. The nice thing is, the focused nature of this activity means higher grades can still benefit from what you would use with lower grades.

Basic Info

Time: 10 mins
Level: Junior High
Works with: focused grammar review
Class size: Medium to large


You will need:

  • to know what grammar you want to review and check it works


On the blackboard, write the Japanese and the English translation.

eg.   since _____ = _____ から
         _____ ago = _____ 前


  1. All students stand.
  2. Student 1 verbally fills in the Japanese example. eg  1年  前
  3. Student 2 translates. eg  1 year  ago
  4. If correct, both students can sit down. Repeat. Activity ends when all students are seated.


You can use this game with various different grammar, the more focused the better. Examples include:


  • Explain this game by demonstrating it with the JTE.
  • Have the JTE write the Japanese.
  • Make sure you and the JTE both understand this activity before you use it in class so he/she can assist properly if needed. (eg. judge if student translations are correct)


  • Select grammar carefully. This is a fun, quick activity but it's also drilling. Keep the options narrow so students can quickly come up with ideas. In this case, a quick game is a good game.
  • Students may start to change only the smallest part. From the example above, the next student might make it 2 years, the next, 10 years, and so on. If this happens, stop accepting "years" in the answer. Suggest, hours, days, weeks, months, etc (or whatever is appropriate to the grammar you're using).


This activity was well received by teachers, even though they were hesitant to try it at first.

The activity zooms in on specific grammar points and allows students to change only a few points and so is both easy enough for everyone to do yet is challenging enough (in a puzzle kind of way) to keep students interested. It can also be funny the vocabulary students choose to mix and match.


I have the students saying the Japanese version first because:

  1. It gives lower level students a chance to put their hands up first and;
  2. After students hear the Japanese, even though only one student says the answer, all the students will have translated it in their head and be thinking the English.
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