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 General GameSnakes and Ladders

SUBMITTED BY: Patrick Bickford / Raegina Taylor /

Roger Parker / Jim Gordon / Richard Benoit / Joyce Le /
Janice K


BORROWED FROM / INSPIRED BY: Old childhood board game / Genki English /

Okinawa ALT website





DATE ADDED: Oct 14, 2008
LAST UPDATE: Dec 07, 2015



  Small Classes (1-15 Students)ÒLarge Classes (16-39 Students)ÓHuge Classes (40+ Students)ÔBad/Misbehaved ClassesÕHandicapped ClassesÖ


15-50 min.

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BRIEF OUTLINE: A popular board game where students travel toward the goal via ladders while avoiding snakes, which send you back down towards the starting point. This game can be used for ranges ES ~ JHS.



  • SnakesAndLadders attachments: Pick your poison!
    • Patrick's Game: Designed for JHS's present progressive verbs. Besides the attachments, you'll need game board pieces and dice. As for the game pieces, students can use erasers, trinkets attached to their pencil cases, etc. As for the dice, each group needs one die.
    • Raegina's Game #1: Designed for ES, General Game area. There are two game boards to choose from.
    • Raegina's Game #2: Designed for ES, Grammar area.
    • Joyce's Game: Designed for JHS's self-introductions area.
    • Jim's Game: Designed for JHS's Review Activity area.
    • Janice's Game: "Generic" board.


  1. Patrick's Game: (10 Votes: 4.5 Stars)
    • This activity focuses on the the verbs 'is/are/was/were' in the present continuous form: "Koji is/was cooking," & "Koji and Emi are/were cooking."
    • After separating the class into groups, hand out a game board and character sheet to each group.
    • Students find a game piece to use. This can be anything from an eraser to a pen cap. They put their pieces in 'Start' box and play Janken to decide who goes first.
    • Game starts by the first student rolling the die and moves their piece accordingly. Let's say they roll a 4. They then move to the fourth square and must form a present or past continuous sentence using the character sheet. The kanji located on each number of the character sheet decides whether the student forms a present or past tense sentence. In the case of #4, the student would say, "Naruto is playing basketball now." NOTE: The characters I used for the character sheet are predominately character from the New Horizon English textbooks. Feel free to change out the people used on the character sheet.
    • If the student is unable to form a sentence, all the students in the group who think they can make a sentence can have a chance to 'steal' by playing Janken and the winner, if they make a correct sentence, can more their game piece to the fourth square, but they DON'T have to make another sentence.
    • The turn moves onto the next student after the student who couldn't form the sentence.
    • If a student's game piece lands on a ladder, they climb it. If it lands on a slide, they must slide down it. NOTE: You can't climb DOWN a ladder or go UP a slide.
    • The first student to reach square #96 and roll a 3 or 4 is the champion.
    • Once a champion is crowned, the group moves onto the writing activity, which is simply writing sentences about 10 of the squares they landed on during the game. Don't worry about the students remembering which squares they landed on...they have an uncanny knack of remembering these trivial facts.
    • NOTE: On the character sheet, the sentences start are mixed and they gradually become more complicated. For example:
      • #71: "Koji is playing video games and table tennis."
      • #72: "Lisa was playing soccer and baseball yesterday."
      • #90: "Snoopy and Ichiro were playing video games and watching TV yesterday.
      • I used this activity in a handicap class so you shouldn't have any problems in regular classes.
      • For more excitement, you might alter the game board a little and insert more ladders and slides.
  2. Raegina's Game #1 (English): (3 Votes: 5 Stars)
    • Split the students into pairs or small groups, depending on the class size.
    • Give each pair/group a game board, dice and markers (you can allow the students to make their own markers if you want).
    • Each pair/group plays Janken to decide who goes first.
    • The first person starts by rolling the dice and moving their piece to the appropriate square and doing the English task: saying a vocabulary word, making a sentence, asking a question, etc. If they can't do the English task, they must move back an X number of squares. You decide how many squares they move back.
    • If a student's piece comes to the base of a ladder, they must climb it and do the English task. Likewise, if a player's piece stops on a square that contains a snake's head, they must slide down to the base and perform the English task.
      The first student to get to the last square is the winner.
    • Variations:
      • Make the students count their moves in English. If you hear Japanese, move the student's piece to any where you like on the board.
      • Add or remove ladders/snakes/slides from the game board to increase or decrease the time alloted to play the game.
    • Raegina's Game #1 (日本語): Translated by: Matt Baumgartner & Raymond Corrigan
      • クラスの人数によって生徒をペアに、グループに分ける。
      • それぞれのグループにゲームボードとサイコロとゲームピースをあげる。生徒が自分のゲームピースを選ぶこともできる。
      • 順番を決めるのにジャンケンをする。
      • 最初の生徒はサイコロを投げてゲームピースを進めて着くスペースの指示に従い。指示は英単語を言うことや英文を作ることや英語で質問することなどです。生徒が失敗したら、ALTがどのぐらい後ろに行くのを決める。
      • 生徒のゲームピースははしごの基部に着いたら上ったら英語の指示に従う。生徒のゲームピースははしごの最上部に着いたら何もしない。同様にヘビの最上部に着いたら下って英語の指示に従う。ヘビに上れない。
      • 最後のスペースに着く生徒が勝つ。
      • バリエーション:
        • ゲームの時間が変わるように蛇またははしごのかずを増加または減少させる
        • 生徒は英語で動く数を言います。日本語を聞いたら生徒のゲームピースをちょっと戻ります。
      • 注意すること:
        • 生徒は自分の進むスペースを数えます。日本語で数えることを聞こえたらその生徒のゲームピースをゲームボードのどこかに置きます。
        • ヘビとはしごを加えるか引くかをしてかかる時間を決めます。
        • サイコロが2個で速く進むことができます。
  3. Raegina's Game #2 (English): (0 Votes: 0 Stars)
    • Hand out to each group one board, two dice, and markers for each student. Students work in groups of 4-5 students.
    • Explain the rules of the game to the class:
      • On squares with ladders, you go up the ladder (level up).
      • On squares with snakes, you go down the snake (level down).
      • Students must count the squares and die numbers in ENGLISH. If Japanese is heard, the teacher can put the student’s marker back to wherever they like
    • Students play English janken to decide on the order of playing. Students One rolls. If they land on a square with a picture on it, the rest of the group asks them ‘How do you say ~ in English?’. The student answers, but if they don’t know, the other members can help them out.
    • If students come across a word they don’t know they must come to the teacher and ask them, using the set grammar.
    • Teaching Suggestions:
      • Teach the students how to say: "How do you say ~ in English?"
      • Check for understanding of the grammar point: "How do you say ~ in English?"
      • Check for understanding of the numbers 1-100, weather, emotions, days of the week, and general vocabulary to play this game.
    • Tips/Cautions:
      • Don’t make a rule where students have to go back a space if they don’t know the word. This is embarrassing and the student’s lose interest in the game very quickly because they are not going anywhere!
    • Raegina's Game #2 (日本語): Translated by: Raegina Taylor / Joyce Le
      • 生徒は4~5人のグループを作る。ゲームボードとサイコロをあげる。
      • ゲームのルールを説明する:
        • レベルアプ: 生徒は梯子がある所に着いたら、梯子の端から梯子のトップまで進む。生徒は梯子に下がらないように注意しましょう。
        • レベルダウン: 蛇の頭がある所に、蛇の頭から尻尾まで戻る。
        • 生徒は進む前に英語で数字を数えなければならない。生徒は日本語を言ったら、先生が好きな所に生徒のコマを戻らせる。
      • グループに1つのゲームボードと2個のさいころと各生徒にコマをあげます。
      • 生徒はジャンケンをすると順番を決める。一番目の生徒がさいころを振ってから番号による動く。絵がある所に着いたら、他の生徒が一番目の生徒に「How do you say ~(絵の単語は日本語を言う) in English?」を聞く。一番目の生徒は答えてみる。生徒は答えが分からなかったら他の生徒が手伝っていい。
      • もし、生徒は単語を分からない時、先生のところに「How do you say ~ in English?」という文法を使って質問をする。
      • 教える際のアドバイス:
        • 「How do you say ~ in English?」という文法を教えます。
        • ゲームをするために生徒が1から100まで英語の数字や天気や曜日や感情な言葉など一般的な単語を知るかどうかを確認してください。
        • 授業の前にグループそれぞれにゲームボードとサイコロが2個を用意してください。生徒はコマが一つを準備しております。
      • 注意すること:
        • 生徒ががっかりしないように恥ずかしく罰ゲームをやめましょう。
  4. Joyce's Game: (0 Votes: 0 Stars)
    • Before class, make a list of questions about yourself/hometown and the JTE (if you want to include him/her into the lesson See attachment for more details.)
    • In class, start by saying your name and just jump right into the game. Put students into groups (the smaller the better). Explain or show students how to play the game.
    • Everyone starts at #1. One student rolls the die and wherever s/he lands on, s/he must do what the instruction says. Let's say the student lands on #4, s/he must do the action/ask the question to the appropriate teacher (JTE/ALT) and THEN move up the ladder. Be sure to remind students to take notes of their answers. If the student cannot do the action, s/he cannot proceed and must go back to the original spot. Teachers should walk around to help those who need assistance during the game.
    • The first student to reach the goal wins.
    • Give yourself 10-15 minutes at the end of class to thoroughly introduce yourself. You can ask students for the answers of the questions from the worksheet to ensure their understanding and participation.
  5. Jim's Game: (1 Votes: 5 Stars)
    • After putting students into groups (groups from 2-8 are okay, but 4-5 is the best), give each group a set of question cards and a die.
    • Tell every student to put something of theirs in the 'start' box. Anything is okay: eraser, paper clip etc.
    • Draw a big question box on the blackboard with a ladder going up and a snake going down. Explain the game using this picture. Students must go around the board. When they land on one of the question squares, they must take a question card to the ALT or JTE. The ALT/JTE asks the question to the student. The student must answer. If their answer is correct, they go up the ladder. If their answer is wrong, they go down the snake.
    • Tell students to play until they reach the goal. Then they can come to you to collect a sticker (optional).
    • The cards are good for speed, especially with low-level classes, because they can read the question before they bring it to you and prepare their answer. That way you don’t get a big queue of students. However, if you have a high-level class, you can do away with the cards and just make questions up as the students come to you.
    • This activity was originaly made for JHS, but I have also used it at elementary without the cards. So, it could go in the general section of elementary, too. If you want to do that, you can use the same name, outline, materials needed and the first teaching suggestion.
    • If students are genuinely trying to answer the questions, it's best not to send them down the snake. The snake is just there as a threat to make sure they try. If they get it wrong, try to help them then ask them again.
    • There are some cards provided to review the textbook Total English 1, 2 and 3 at the end of the school year. However, you can make your own cards to review any set of questions. Try to put some trick questions in like "Do you eat cats?" because many students will just listen to the first word of the question then say "Yes, I do/can/am/have."

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This page was last modified on Monday, December 07, 2015 04:21:52 PM