This is part one of a two-part entry of some short games you can use to fill extra time at the end/start of a lesson (here's part 2). Most require little or no preparation at all.

We've got stuff for all JHS grades, and a bit of elementary, so come one, come all!

1. Newspapers (5-10 minutes)
First up, a very fun and easy team game for all JHS grades.
  • Find an interesting newspaper/web article or three (ones with pictures are best, ideally about some big sport event or something else kids will find interesting). The content doesn't matter; it can be as complicated as they come. Depending on the size of your class, it's usually best to have the article cover two pages so they all have something to do.
  • Split the class into groups of 4-6 students.
  • Give each group a copy of one article.
  • Then call out and write on the board/show a flashcard of a random word from the article.
  • Students race to find the word in the text and put their hand up.
  • Check it, award points, repeat

2. 20 Questions (10+ minutes)
As simple as it sounds, the class gets to ask you (or a chosen student) 20 questions to work out what you are thinking of (animal, vegetable or mineral). Works best with advanced 2nd/3rd grade JHS. It's a good idea to give them some examples of the type of questions they can ask. Like, "Are you an animal?" "Are you bigger than...?" "Can you...?" etc

3. Shiritori (5+ minutes)
Great game because it requires no planning at all, and can just be stuck at the end of the lesson when needed. Works with all grades, although wait until the 1st graders have learned something unless you don't mind them using the textbook/dictionary.
  • Say a word. 
  • The next person (you can do it in rows of students of have them raise their hands in groups, etc) has to think of a word that begins with the last letter of the previous word, and so on.
4. Picture Shiritori (10+ minutes )
Same game, but they draw pictures on the board of things starting with the last letter of the last thing. They can be quite creative. Good in groups.

5. Pictionary (10+ minutes)
Students draw a picture, other students guess what it is (in English). OK for all grades as long as you vet what 1st graders draw.

6. Crossfire (~10 minutes)
Good for all grades.
  • All students stand up.
  • Ask a question they have studied from the textbook.
  • Students raise their hand. If they get it right, they can chose a group of people to sit down. Either the students in their row (front to back/left to right/diagonally) or with some feature (not black hair!) like wearing glasses etc.
The types of questions you ask can be anything from "What is ____ in Japanese/English?" to completing a sentence from textbook dialogue.

7. Crossfire RESURRECTION (~10 minutes)
Also good for all grades.
  • In this version one row of students stands up (i.e. front to back).
  • Ask a question. Students raise their hands.
  • If they get it right, they sit down.
  • The last student standing makes the row in the opposite direction stand up (i.e. left-to-right).
  • Repeat.

    That's it for part one. Click here for part two, 8-14.

    Any suggestions or ideas in the comments box please.

    Enjoy our articles? Follow us on Twitter or Facebook for our Monday, Wednesday and Friday updates.

    Follow Me on Pinterest