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Kakokei Karuta


SUBMITTED BY:Patrick Bickford

BORROWED FROM / INSPIRED BY: Niigata's Songlines (1992)


GRAMMAR: Past Tense Verb

EXAMPLE: I ate natto yesterday.

DATE ADDED: Oct 27, 2009






15-30 min.

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BRIEF OUTLINE: Kakokei is Japanese for past tense. Students listen to the teacher read a sentence and slap the correct 'verb card'. 



  • Kakokei Karuta worksheet: Print and cut-up enough copies of 'verb cards' for every group



  1. After splitting the class into groups of 5-6 students, hand out a set of 'verb cards' to each group and have them spread them out on their desks.
  2. Read a present tense sentence: "I eat cereal for breakfast." The groups must listen for the verb in the sentence and grab the verb card with the past tense form of the verb.
  3. The 'grab' winners keep the card and must stand up and repeat the sentence using the past tense form: "I ate cereal for breakfast."
  4. The student with the most cards win.



  • If you want to play this game multiple times, after you have played the game one time, have the winners form a group because they are most likely the strongest English speakers in the class.



  • This activity is versatile and can be used to practice any grammar form of a verb, so feel free to change the worksheet accordingly.



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