Happy New Year!!








Back to school 






さて、リオ オリンピックも閉会式を





Roll and Say

I’ve been meaning to share this simple way to drill reading of six flashcards in a fun way for a long time. It’s a staple in my classroom for older students. First drill six flashcards with words on the reverse side in any way you like. Then put the cards on the table or floor picture side up. Explain that each card has a number 1 – 6. Have students roll a die and say the flashcard with that “number”. For example, the student rolls a six and the sixth card is “APPLE” then the student says the flashcard and turns the card over to the word side. The play continues until all the flashcards are turned over to the word side. If the same number six is rolled again the student must read the flashcard but not turn it over. This gets the students to read the cards until all the cards can be turned over. If the game takes to long, set a timer. Also you can have a “challenge round”. Set a timer for one minute and see if they can finish the game (turn over all the cards) in one minute. A lot of fun without the traditional boring drilling.

Secret Number Karuta

Last night I remembered a twist on the classic “Karuta” slap the card game. In case you aren’t familiar with this game, the teacher spreads out flashcards in front of the students. The teacher calls out a flashcard. The first to slap that card (I use fly swatters) gets the card. The player with the most cards is the winner! BUT, one students is always better them others. One way to level the playing field is to have the person who got the last card, call the next card and wait out a turn. Another way is to use a “secret number”. Tell the students you are writing a secret number. Put the secret number folded where the players can see the paper, but not the number.  Play the classic game of “Karuta”. After playing, ask each student how may cards they have. If any students have the some amount or cards (lets say four cards) as the secret number (4), they win! This gives all students a chance to win. Not just the player with the most cards. Any number is good. Especially a low number! Lots of fun and no hurt feelings.

Summer Vacation

I hope you are enjoying your Summer Vacation. Summers in Okazaki are too hot for me, but there are some simple pleasures to be found. Last week we went to Nagano for two days. The mornings and nights were cool. We enjoyed nature played in the river, eating Sauce Katsu, Steak and ice cream. I was a very relaxing two days. Summer Vacation is very long for Julian. So he has been doing homework, playing with his friends, going to the school pool, and of course..Nintendo DS! Last light we had a small fireworks festival on front of our home with our neighbors. The simple pleasures are the best!IMG_2965

I love a relay!

relayRelays are really fun and get the kids’ energy levels up. This is a super simple relay that kids love. Divide the students into teams. Determine a starting line. I put some tape on the floor and have the students line up in teams. Each team will have their own set of small flashcards to find in the relay. These cards are scattered around the back of the room opposite the starting point. The teacher stands at the back of the room with a matching set of large flashcards. Put on some energetic music and it’s relay time!

The teacher shows or says a flash card. Ex. A-Apple. The students race to be the first to find the matching card and bring it back to their team. The fastest team gets a point. Play continues until all the cards are found. For a bigger challenge, have the students use a spatula, spoon or small net to bring the flashcards back to their team. For younger children, have them pick up the cards with their hands and don’t award points. Just have fun.

Mission Impossible 2!

letter and clipMany people ask me “Where do I get my ideas for games?“. Well, actually, no one has ever asked me this question. But IF they did, I would answer, “From the strangest places”

I was watching my four year old son playing outside with a big plastic clothes pin, picking up toys. I thought “Eureka! “this would make a great game!

You will need:

  1. A set of plastic Alphabet letters.
  2. Big plastic clothes pins or clips. Enough for all the students.
  3. A Kitchen timer.
  4. Matching flashcards for each letter. Ex. “A – Apple “Flashcard.

Before the lesson, put the letters in a hat or colorful box and place the flashcards around the room.

Now your ready!

Take out the letters one by one and have the students identify each letter. Hand a letter to a student have them place the letter on a matching flashcard around the room. My school has an Alphabet carpet, so I have them place the plastic letters on the matching letter on the carpet. After all the plastic letters have been matched, give each student a clip. Demonstrate to the students how to pick up a plastic letter with one hand using a clip. Announce “It’s challenge time!” Set the time for about 45 seconds. Give more time for younger students. The students must pick up all the the letters before the time runs out.

Ready, Set, Go! Play some peppy music or the theme from “Mission Impossible” and watch the fun as the kids run around the room picking up the letters and putting them back into the box before the time runs out. They will ask to do it again!

This is a great game to bring your students together as a team. For younger or sensitive children, just have them pick up the letter without the timer.