Teachers' Questions: Can you ... ? for non - genki kids.

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Q: I'm teaching my 5th graders the topic "Can you?" (play / go / cook) and am wondering if you have any ideas for games. They are pretty shy and do not like singing songs and more genki games that i use with my younger kids. - Beth

"I can do it!" is the first rule for Genki English so it comes up in lots of themes.

The most popular of which is the Superhero song which as you can see from the video on that page is really popular with 5th graders.

(The key with songs at the age group is to choose English that is at the right level, they won't sing "kiddie" style songs, but they will sing ones that are about superheroes, have big guitars or chart style dance music!)

Plus also have a look at the I can do it! lesson. or the Can you speak ...? lesson.

Answers from other teachers...

If the Home Room Teacher can prepare the result of some statistics of the class, a research game would be interesting. Students research about their friends abilities using the phrases. Forecast the result and compare it with the real result. Or the students can pretend to be somebody, it might be fun.

SEAT kun

Beth, are there any tricks you can do? Like juggle, spin a basketball on your finger, or something? First, you show the students some tricks you can do. Then you ask them, "Can you do this?", (here is a good chance to teach them "Maybe" in English!), and get a couple of volunteers to come up and try it. After showing them a few tricks, get the class to practise doing them, and then go around the class with the Home Room Teacher and ask the students "Can you do this?" while they are practising, they can probably answer "Yes" and "No".

Next teach "Yes I can" and "No I can't". Get some volunteers to come up and be the teacher. The students (even the shy ones) can probably think of some crazy things! Lastly hand the class over to the Home Room Teacher to wrap things up. He/ She can test the students on difficult kanji "Can you read this?". If you have enough time you can teach the students some simple English tongue-twisters, using "Can you say this?", then you can get the students to teach you some Japanese ones. Should be fun!


An enjoyable game I have played with 5th and 6th graders is "What am I?"

If you prepare cards with various animals, teach the target vocab.

Next divide the students into groups, they then have to ask questions to find out which animal you are.

Can you fly? Can you eat meat? Can you climb? Can you Swim? etc...

You can also move on to Are you..? Are you big / small/ dangerous / striped?

How many...?
Do you live in....?
Do you have....?


For the Genkier kids, the new "I can do it!" song works great!


If you have a question then please send it in! Or if you have any comments or additions to the above messages, then please send those in as well!

Or for more questions, have a look at the main Teachers' Questions Page.

Be genki,


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