Game in Japanese

TPR Warm Up Game!

Target Grade: All (pre-primary to adults)
Target English: Greetings, verbs, discipline

NEW: Check out the new Genki Disco Warm Up song on CD vol 7!

Here's the first part of my online workshop videos.

And here is how to use the warm up to review in each new lesson....

Or when you have done several lessons you can do a warm up like this...

This is a game that is great do at the beginning of nearly every lesson. Its gets the kids lively and active and helps their listening skills, and if they can learn to stand up and sit down quickly you won't be wasting time later on in the lesson! From then on you add in new words each week, and is really effective. It's basically TPR, total physical response, although with limited class time it's usually better to get the kids repeating the words as soon as you can.

At the beginning you simply shout out commands at the kids. First of all simple things like "Stand Up" or "Sit Down" are OK, along with "Good Morning" (great to practice the Good Morning Song! ). Also, try tricking them by saying "STAND UP" when they are already standing up!

As you meet the kids more you can add words such as JUMP, SPIN (a big favourite), EAT, DRINK, CHEER, CLAP,

GOOD NIGHT (they go to sleep) GOOD MORNING !

Later BOY, GIRL can be added (much laughter when boys stand up when you say "GIRLS STAND UP"). Also BIG, SMALL e.g. BIG JUMP, LITTLE JUMP and QUIET, LOUD e.g. QUIET CLAP, LOUD CHEER.

Even 1st Years can get quite advanced with things such as "GIRLS,@5 BIG SPIN JUMPS"

Or try using "PLAY" e.g. "Play Piano, Play Tennis" or things like "Watch TV"

For "Clap" or "Cheer" get them to vary the volume as you raise or lower your arm - it's a great "volume control" for the moments when you do want them to be quiet!!!

If you want some more words, try "cry" or even "zip it!"

Once you get past these basics, try some other topics from the songs, and then start using series of phrases that the kids can use. You don't just have to stick to commands!

Then try the past or future tenses, i.e. basically do the same thing but point to a calendar on the wall first.
Then you can start moving on to stories. A good way to do this is to get your kids to think of stories in groups in their native language, translate them and use them in the next class! For the stories, things like Spiderman, Harry Potter or famous characters are best!

Basics Funky Stuff
Routines Past Tense Famous Stories
Stand up
Sit down
Watch TV
Surf in Hawaii
Do sumo wrestling
Eat hot kimchi
Walk on a hot beach
Go on a waterslide
I like sweet apple pies
She's eating sour lemons

(( get the kids to
think of their own!)

Open your eyes
Wake up!
Stretch your arms
Get out of bed

Have a shower
Have breakfast
I left the house
I got on my bike
I looked at my watch
I was late!
I rushed to school
I crashed my bike!
My name's Harry Potter
I'm a wizard
I have a magic wand
I can cast magic spells
This is my friend Hermione
My favourite sport is Quidditch
Today I....

Here's the game in action with a real class

Here's the first 10 minutes of my standard demo class. Hopefully you'll get some ideas and see how good even beginner students can be with a little motivation and music thrown in there.

It's of a small school where I taught all the grades together. They have had a few lessons before, but the Rock, Paper, Scissors song was their first time.

It starts off part way through my warm up,
Then Genki English Rule 1: Think you can and you can!
Then intro of Rock, Paper, Scissors i.e. each word twice and then once through the mini-lesson.
As you can see the kids pretty much got it just from this.
Then Genki English Rule 2: Losing just means "try again!"
Then another couple of goes through the song very fast.
Then the song itself.

Altogether it's 10 minutes. You'll see how much Japanese I use and how much emphasis is put on motivation talk. These were really good kids, but their speed was about the same as most good classes.

Or if you're looking for more ideas, try these from teachers in Okayama!

Climb Mt Fuji
Throw a big ball
Cheer the Hanshin Tigers!
Do synchronised swimming
Dance with Tom Cruise
Paint a big picture
Row a canoe
Ride on a motorbike
Be a monkey
Fall in love
Be a Genki English teacher
Walk like a model
Be a samurai
Be a big lion
Spin like a spinning top
Run like a penguin
Brush your hair
Swim in the sea
Cry loudly
Eat a big hot dog with lots of mustard
Open the biggest book in the World
Walk underwater
Dive into the water
Rock climb in the Grand Canyon
Touch you knees and smile

Walk like an elephant
Eat hot noodles
Stand on a balance ball
Shampoo your hair
Walk or run like an upset alligator
Train your muscles
Play the trombone
Towel on the head, take a hot spring bath
Swing quickly
Play the guitar and shout
Walk on a rope

The idea is to keep adding in more and more each lesson based on what you have taught previously, check out this video!

Part 2: How to Massively Increase Your Students' English
- The Secret Warm Ups

Here are some of the tricks you can use to kick your students' English levels through roof!
Gumby wrote in asking how I review all the previous lessons in the first 5 minutes of each lesson (as per the lesson plan.)

It's actually quite straight forward and very powerful! Have a look at this video.

(The song is the
Where is Baby Monkey? Rooms of the House song.)

The great thing about this is that you can easily mix and match the different phrases as you teach new themes.

For example in the video we'd done "I like ..." with animals and "I'd like some ...." with breakfast food.

So in the review you can ask the kids to translate sentences that mix and match them both
e.g. say "I'd like some pancakes" or "I like pancakes" or "I like bears" or "I'd like some bears"
(stupid sentence but it gets the kids excited and making sentences!)

Build & Build

As the kids remember all the grammar & phrases naturally from the melodies in the songs,
you can keep building and building like this using previous themes in new and varied ways.

For example after this warm up, the lesson we did was Under, on, in prepositions.

So in the next warm up we can mix this with the rooms of the house to get things like "Where is the kitchen?"
"It's next to the living room" etc.

Anything you want to say!

Now imagine that you can build up an almost infinite amount of English for the kids to speak.
This technique, and by carefully controlling the language used in the curriculum, is how I manage to build up to the
"be able to say anything you want to say" goal of Genki English.

You can can see it's very powerful.

And lots of fun!

One other tip for reviewing, always remember it's "not what you've done but what the kids can do" that is important!

What do you think?

  • Reader's Comments


    Ifm totally surprised. I thought I knew most of the GE style tricks. But this is amazing. (And so simple~Ifm kind of shocked how little creative I am)

    First of all I was surprised about the Japanese you are using, the translation techniques. It never came to my mind to do this. Only with the gHow do you saycin Englishh
    all my reviews have been Q+A (me doing the Q or having the students do the Q), or gestures, but this translation thing is actually really interesting.

    Second surprise: How you use the Download pack. You should put these videos up on the download pack site, as when watching them I wonft want to use anything else anymore.
    To use the gwords 2 section with the under on in topic~itfs just fabulous.

    Hey: more tricks we donft know yet? I bet so. So itfs us asking questions to become better.
    gumby, thanks for being so resistent with your request!!!
    And Richard, thank you!


    Thanks Richard!
    I was so excited to finally see it! I have learned so much from all the videos. I agree with Margit, I canft imagine teaching without the download pack. My schools all have the CDs but it is SO MUCH easier with the USB! Switching songs is super easy.

    Margit, I actually use Japanese a lot, to make sure they understand. I often find they think it means to something else. Yesterday I was practicing prepositions (inspired by the videos on the blog). When I introduced eonf more than half assumed I was teaching uor eputf. I find this the norm. Just because they can respond to a GE question or picture, doesnft mean they really understand what it means. So I tell them what it means and occasionally during the class I will ask for a translation.

    As for the warm-up I will be using more word pages and doing more review and trick questions. It is something that is lacking from my curriculum. Thanks Richard for posting the video!


    NOt gresistenth but gpersistenthUUUPS

    cI do use Japanese as well, but itfs different to use it to reassure a meaning or like Richard did in the video to put it into the review. There comes the gspeed factorh. So if I ask during class : What means gI want to eathcthey take more time thinking about it,
    But like in the video itfs just gpam pam pamh, and though my kids got fast with answering or asking they arenft when translating.


    Glad you like the video!

    If you notice I try and mix and match the inputs I give the kids, so sometimes Ifll ask them to translate, sometimes Ifll ask a question in English, sometimes Ifll do a gesture, and sometimes Ifll point at a card. Just getting the kids used to different inputs to stimulate the English output. The rhythm combined with this gwhat will happen nexth is a big part of it, yeah gpam pam pamh!!!


    Oh my God! Thanks a lot because everyone speak in the students language. When in my English classes I use The Spanish language I feel bad, but may be in the futur Ifm going to feel better.
    Thank you Richard


    In public schools in Thailand they insist on the teacher only speaking one language in the classroom. They swear up and down that the direct method is the only method worth using. Despite my being fluent in Thai and getting great results using the same sorts of techniques that you use, the senior teachers and administrators in the public school systems are constantly giving me terrible teaching evaluations. How can I get past their intolerance? (other than opening my own learning center and making more money than they doc which Ifve already done)

    thanks and thanks for everything, your program is the best 200 bucks Ifve ever spent.


    Hi Shawn,

    You could start by telling them guy who wrote a big part of the first gradefs curriculum in Thailand says you can! All the people Ifve talked with in the Ministry of Education are also cool with speaking English and Thai in class, so itfs probably just the local teachers.

    As far as the evaluation goes, just sit down with them and find out exactly what *outcomes * they want. Then go and ace them!

    You are right at the end of the day though that private education will always beat public education whatever the country!

    I use your songs and lessons every day!!
    I live in Argentina
    My pupils have 4 and 5 years old
    they know and love baby monkey!!!


    I also have the same problem. I teach in Taiwan and I am fluent in Chinese, but my school doesnft let me speak Taiwanese.
    Also, I teach kindergarten, but will be taking a pre-k class soon. I plan on teaching the same way-lots of review/get them speaking with partners and making gestures, just teaching fewer vocabulary items per class. Anybody have any other suggestions for this very young age group?

    Jennifer in Germany

    For this very young age group I really recommend using a puppet of some kind. It can be very simple. A sock with eyes. Give it a funny name and let it be naughty.
    For example my Pre-K loved it when my puppet put a plastic spider on the floor when I wasnft looking. He sometimes brings a squeaky toy and makes so much noise that I have to tell him to gBe quiet, please!h. He asks for a ball to play with but doesnft say gThank youh or gPleaseh until I scold him repeatedely (gWhat do you say?!h) And on and on.

    And of course lots of songs with actions and stories with actions.
    You need to be a little gentler with these young ones than school kids and donft play games where anyone loses.
    Hope this helps.


    Thanks Jennifer. Naughty puppets sound like a great idea.

Readers' Comments

A friend told me about a game called "iro oni", which is like a combination of tag and the TPR warm-up. 
  Like in oni gokko (japanese tag), you have the oni ("it" - it's also the Japanese word for a "devil" - Richard), and they call out a color.  Then everyone has to run and touch that color.  Anyone not touching the color can be tagged.  This could help liven up TPR if its getting old or used as color review (or with the colour song - Richard).  You can also have the students touch desks and anything else you might do in a TPR. - Thomas

Readers' Comments

Just thought i might add another to your TPR list.  One day i was on the playground and one of my kids asked me to do a "Mario jump".  I thought it was a brilliant idea and so i added it to the start of the class warm up and they love it.  Just ask one of your kids to do it for you.  They'll know what you are talking about.  -  Derek


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