• ABCs - Back Writing

    Back writing is a fun game with a few different variations (see below) for pairs or groups to review writing and understanding the shapes of the alphabet.

  • ABCs - Next Letter Team Game

    The next letter game is played in teams of 4 at the maximum to practice alphabetical order with the goal being trying to recall as quickly as possible the next letter. A perfect warm up for when junior high school first grade are learning how to use the dictionary.

  • ABCs - Running Letters

    The ABCs is one of the first English lessons for 1st graders in Japanese junior high schools. Because school starts around the beginning of April, it's spring and it's a great time to run around outside while it's not too cold and not too hot.

  • ABCs - Team Writing Challenge

    This activity uses competition to make writing the alphabet fun. It should probably be paired with (and done after) a practice worksheet.

  • Are you a soccer fan?

    For junior high first graders, this group work activity encourages students to use their knowledge of the world and bring it to the English class.

  • Arrange a Sentence

    Giving the students the words and letting them arrange the sentence is an oldie but a goodie. This game adds some movement and the element of recall to make it more fun and competitive.

  • Battleships (for "Can you swim?")

    Just like the old MB game, this activity is a lot of fun. It takes a while to explain/demonstrate but once the students start, they really get into it.

  • Be the Best Tape Recorder You Can Be!

    Often the work of an ALT, especially at junior high level, is likened to being a tape recorder. We're asked to read things out loud so that students can repeat after us. This can get boring but if you consider the purpose and potential benefits of this activity, you can increase the value to the students of this activity.

  • Composed Conversations

    This junior high warm-up gives students some thinking time to compose what they want to say (and write it down) before they do some mingling while using the target phase of the day.

  • Count Around the Circle

    A classic for practicing numbers is the count around the circle game. Easy in concept, but because students tend to learn numbers once then not have much chance to use them after that, they fall out of practice. For that reason, count around the circle is also a good review warm-up for any lesson with many variations.

  • Criss-Cross (Tate-Yoko)

    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.

  • Describe and Draw: There is ~ on ~.

    In this activity, one student describe an image to her partner who has to try and draw the image by description alone. Because success depends on understanding and being understood, you'll see a real effort to communicate successfully.

  • Design a Superhero - He can...

    This activity might take a large portion of class time so you'll need to be sure the JTE is on board for that. In this activity, students will have to get creative, use their group work skills, negotiate, and even get a bit artistic so it's really great for building important life skills in addition to the English grammar point of the day.

  • Do you know....? vocab

    In the "Do you know....?" Game, you're the game host of a Jeopardy style game and the JTE is the judge and scorekeeper! Your students compete in teams to accumulate the most points for fame and glory, or just stickers - whatever comes first!

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Gesture Answers - How do you

    Being able to answer any "How do you...?" question requires many different grammar forms. This activity let's students practice asking the single form question without getting bogged down in the grammar of all the possible answers.

  • 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.

  • Guilty! The YĆ«zai Game

    Guilty is a spin-off of the old board game Clue, with elements of the Nintendo Switch game Fakin' It. Students prepare their own cards then play a game based on bluffing your way through an alibi. It's a bit of a long game with student preparation time but it's so much fun.