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Go: Warmups

 WarmupWord or Sentence

SUBMITTED BY: Patrick Bickford



DATE ADDED: May 25, 2011


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


05-20 min.


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BRIEF OUTLINE: Students choose to receive a 'word' or a 'sentence' to put into Japanese.



  • Textbook: The teacher needs a textbook, not the students. Students are not allowed to use their textbooks.



  1. First off, I teach the students the meaning of 'word' and 'sentence.' While it might be easy to simply tell them what it means in Japanese, I prefer a predominantly English classroom so I try to give them clues to what these words mean. I write "word" and "sentence" on the blackboard and ask them what these words mean. Usually, the students have no clue so I write examples under each. For example, under 'word', I would write: big, desk, cola, etc. Under 'sentence', I would write: I like basketball, I play my PSP, etc.
  2. Once the students tell me the meanings in Japanese (word = tango, sentence = bun), I actually superscript 'sentence' with it's pronunciation since the students are unfamilar with this word: "千 10 s" (千 is kanji for 'sen'). Get it?
  3. Anyways, I have the entire class stand up and then we play Janken. I whittle down the winners of Janken until I have 2-3 winners left. Then, one-by-one, I ask the winners, "Word or sentence?" NOTE: Before class, I find out what page they are on in their textbooks. Any sentence or word on or before the page they are currently on is 'open game.'
  4. After the winner chooses one, give them the word or sentence in English and they have to put it into Japanese. Rely on your JTE if you are not comfortable with your J-skills. Words are worth 1-point, while Sentences are worth 2-points. Once all the Janken winners have taken their turn, they sit down and you proceed to play Janken again to find your next winners.
  5. From this point, how the points are applied during the game differ depending on your classroom environment, class size, whether or not you have a point system installed. For bigger classes, you might split the students into their lunchroom groups. For smaller classes, you might split them down into pairs. Whatever you do, remember 'self-accomplishment' is more important to many students than receiving a point. Instead of making the game a 'point' game, you might classify it as a 'question or challenge' activity.
  6. Play until you have 4-5 students left standing, that way they can sit down together rather than singling out the 'ultimate loser.' Or, play until the game starts losing momentum.



  • If you give a word or sentence that a student can't put into Japanese, give the students sitting down a chance to answer. The students standing will be chomping-at-the-bit to answer but I don't let them. It keeps the students sitting actively listening for the entire game. If they can answer, they only receive one point, even if they answer a 2-pointer.



  • This activity works extremely well if you are already using a point system: word = 1pt, sentence = 2pts.



  • I created this activity on-the-fly for one of my JTEs. I thought it would be a simple 5-10 minute warmup, but it turned into a 20 minute activity. Thankfully, the JTE was a gamer and got caught up with all the excitement as well (since he was the one responsible for giving the 'okay' to all the translations), but keep in mind the game might take longer than 10 minutes.

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