• English to Encourage Every Day

    Oftentimes, our roles in class are thinking up games or activities to make practicing a phrase or short dialogue set fun and kid oriented. But there is the other English that you should also nurture in your class. The every day English, also known as classroom English - it's what the students use as part of the lesson but isn't the lesson, it's what helps communication throughout the class.

  • Facial Features - Draw a Face

    A fun English lesson activity for studying the facial features vocabulary. You can keep it very simple just using the nouns: nose, eyes, ears, etc, or you can include an easy question and answer.

  • Fill in the Alphabet

    This blackboard writing challenge works best in small to medium sized classes. Students are running around, writing letters on the blackboard, and competing against the other team(s) so there's a lot of movement and a lot of energy. Everyone loves this game!

  • Find Your Partner

    Find your partner is one of the most basic games for English lessons around and so simple that you can adapt it to fit pretty much any lesson's target phrase/language or vocabulary set.

  • First Day New School Lesson Tips

    Your first day as an English teacher in a Japanese school can be nerve wracking. Not only are you dropped into a new work environment with new people (and for many of us) in a new language. On top of that, the first time you step into a Japanese class room you will be asked to teach your first live lesson! - The good news is it's not that bad, and the tips below will help you get through it.

  • Five of a Kind

    Five of a kind is a game where students try to collect five (or any number really) of the same card. It's a flexible template that can be applied in many different ways.

  • Fly Swatter Game

    The fly swatter game is kids whacking the blackboard with (clean, I hope) fly swats. Every teacher knows this game and students love it. Good for reviewing vocab and just having a good time.

  • Freeze Chanting

    The freeze game is a fun way to get the younger, energetic (or rowdy) classes to expend some energy while drilling new vocabulary. Chanting English with a lot of movement and "Freeze!" thrown in to challenge students.

  • Fruit Basket

    Fruit basket is a wonderful game for reviewing vocabulary in elementary school English lessons. Wonderful because the students know the rules and wonderful because they love to play it (obviously not the older ones). With one less chair, the game revolves around changing where you sit while trying not to be the last one left without a seat.

  • Gesture Game

    The gesture game seems to have fallen out of fashion around my neck of the woods but I think it can still serve a purpose. The gesture game activity is simple and requires no extra preparation so can be used as planned or on the fly when you need to fill in an extra 5 or 10 minutes.

  • Gesture Relay Game

    The relay gesture game is a combination of running and gesturing as a group. It is a fun game to competitively practice any vocabulary or phrases that can be gestured.

  • Give Them What They Want

    Students walk around drawing things for their friends. First they ask what their talking partner wants, then beat the clock drawing it for them. Lot's of fun and simulates real use of the language.

  • Guess the Number

    Guess the number is a fun game, useful for practicing numbers one to one hundred. The good thing about this game is it gets the kids to think of the numbers they want to say in English.

  • Halloween - Mummy Wrap

    This fun Halloween activity idea for elementary English classes isn't so much about studying and practicing English as it is about sharing culture and just having a fun lesson. When planning a lesson, I'd save this for the end as a "reward" for completing the earlier part of the lesson.

  • Head, Shoulders Song - Extended

    The head, shoulders, knees and toes song is one that most students in elementary school seem to know and are very able to sing along. Singing is fun and children love it, so here is a way to make the old song a little bit more fun and challenging.

  • Hide the Teacher's Pen Game

    In this game, the teacher's pen (and other stationary) is missing. Luckily, the students know where it is and can direct the teacher to it.

  • Hip Hop Chanting

    Chanting is a simple drilling tool that adds cadence (usually by clapping) to repetition to liven it up. For any hip-hop fans - try taking it one step further and adding a beat to make it even more interesting.

  • How Many Fingers Janken

    Students play a new variation of janken but instead of winning with paper, scissors or rock; they win by doing some simple math the quickest.

  • How to Teach Hi, Friends!

    When I first started teaching English in Japan, we didn't have textbooks for elementary students. Then we had Eigo Noto. Now we have Hi, friends! When I first started, each lesson I taught at elementary school was unto itself - the never continued or related to each other. They were also very vocabulary focused. Grammar was an afterthought.

  • Human Alphabet

    Don't try this activity if you value class time. This is a bit of a P.R. stunt for English and a chance to get the students outside and running around. Perfect on a nice spring day and it does help students remember the shapes of the alphabet.