Cool name(s) for this activity:
The Super Janken game is a good vocabulary review activity for Elementary classes. There is also a variation for more advanced classes (ie, Junior High). Two teams compete against each other on a row of vocabulary flashcards using janken. They must shout out the vocabulary to progress along the line. This game is ideal for smaller classes but can become a bit unwieldy for larger classes.
- 10 vocabulary flashcards
- 10 chairs
- Teach your target vocabulary and/or target phrase (e.g. I like ____).
- Line up 10 chairs in a row, leaving enough space at either end for the teams to line up.
- Place one flashcard on each chair.
- Split the class into two teams.
- Demonstrate the game procedure with the JTE:
- The first kid from each team must proceed along the line touching each flashcard in turn and shouting out the target vocab as they go (eg. "I like bananas. I like pineapples. I like cherries.")
- Once the two kids meet in the middle, they stop and play janken.
- The winner continues along the line, while the loser must return to the back of their team's line.
- The cycle repeats, with each team's fortune depending on their luck with janken.
- If anybody gets to the last card in the line, then that becomes the deciding janken battle. If they win, their team receives a point and the game resets. If they lose, the game continues as previously.
- Make sure you emphasise that the kids must shout out the vocab loud and clearly. Anyone doing it in a quiet voice or using Japanese gets tapped on the head (an inflatable hammer is great for this!) and must go to the back of their line.
- If the class is really getting into the game it might be hard to hear what the students are saying and if the pronunciation is OK. In this case you can set up a 4X4 clapping rhythm where there is a window for the player to say the word, if they miss that window then they must wait until the next. The 4X4 beat may go *clap* *clap* *click* *click*. The clicking part is where the students are able to say their vocabulary. This makes the students go at a certain pace so they don't run and mumble the words.
- Depending on how the janken exchanges go, one round of this game can take anything from 10 seconds to 10 minutes. Be aware of your time constraints!
- If you have a large class sometimes the kids waiting in line for their turn can get a bit unruly or bored. It can sometimes be better to create two games and run them simultaneously: one at the front and one at the back of the class.
For more advanced classes, this game can be extended by changing what the students must say when they get to each chair. Instead of using a flash card, use a letter. The students must say a word beginning with that letter. Change the letters regularly to keep new words coming out. Note, if you don't change the letters, the students might just repeat the same word over and over again. Initially, this might not be so bad with lower level classes, as it is good for their listening skills and keeps them concentrating.