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Go: Warmups

 WarmupJanken Taikai

SUBMITTED BY: Patrick Bickford

BORROWED FROM / INSPIRED BY: Out of the ashes of an un-genki class.


DATE ADDED: Nov 29, 2007


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


05-15 min.

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BRIEF OUTLINE: Taikai is Japanese for 'event, game or competition'. Students play Janken with ALT/JTE and the winners, losers, and/or tie-ers must stand up and face the barrage of questions.



  1. Teach the students the three English words: win, tie, lose. A lot of students should already know ‘win’ and ‘lose’ but when you teach them ‘tie’ relate it to the word ‘necktie’, which is ネクタイ in Japanese.
  2. Tell them, “lose and tie is safe, but win and you stand up.” Then, have the students play Janken either with you or the JTE. The winners must stand up.
  3. Then, you and the JTE take turns asking questions. The first student to raise their hand and correctly answer the question can sit down.
  4. Ask 3-5 questions then tell everyone to sit down and play Janken again to select a new batch of students to stand up.
  5. Choose different 'safe' categories each round to keep the students on their toes, “This time, lose and win are safe, but tie must stand up.”


  • This has been my regular warmup activity in class for years. The randomness of the game creates positive atmosphere for the entire classroom.
  • For years now, I have seen students play Janken in English class and the loser is forced to do the English task. I hate this! Why is it always the loser that is forced to participate in English? When did studying English become a bad thing? Anyways, I created this warm-up game to level the playing field. Winners are no longer safe.
  • Most teachers like to use the warm-up time to review the grammar the students recently studied. The problem is the most recently learned grammar always seems to be extremely difficult for the students. I suggest starting out with really easy quick-fire question-answer, like:
    • What is いち in English?
    • What is わさび in English?
    • Do you like natto ice cream?
    • Do you like Gackt?
  • You should find that the students enthusiasm for English will improve as will their confidence and comprehension.


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