Game in Japanese

The Fishing Game!

Target Grade:3-6
Target English: Vocab review!
Preparation: String, clips, picture cards.


This game can either be played outside from the second floor balcony, or in the gym, provided it has two stories. I much prefer to play it outside. Or have a look at the readers' comments below for a classroom version.

1. Spread out lots of picture cards on the floor. (I use about 50 A4 cards at a time)

2. Put the kids into groups of about 5 or 6.

3. Two members from each group go upstairs along with the teacher who speaks the best English.

4. The other members stay downstairs with the other teacher.

5. The upstairs kids have a piece of string (long enough to reach down to the floor below) which has a clip on the bottom of it. There is one for each team.

6. One of the kids from each upstairs team comes to the upstairs teacher..

7. The teacher tells them a word. (e.g. "dog", "car" etc.)

8. The students then shout the word down to their teammates below (in English of course, Japanese = minus one point!)

9. The teammates search for that word amongst the picture cards.

10. When they've found the correct card they attach it to the clip on the string.

11. The upstairs kids reel in the card.

12. They bring the card to the upstairs teacher who then tells them the next word.

Remember to give each team different words to look for (otherwise you'll have a big fight downstairs). Its also good to change the kids around (i.e. the upstairs kids go downstairs and the downstairs kids go upstairs) half way through.

You can obviously play this game outside only in good weather (and even then your beautiful cards will get really dirty!), but on rainy days the school gym is also a good choice if it has a balcony!

Thick string doesn't tangle as much as thin string!

Readers' Comments
by Deb Favier

I play a similar game, which I picked up from an awesome Japanese lady I used to teach with.  She made fishing poles from chopsticks by tying or taping string to the end of the chopsticks and on the other end of the string, tied or taped small magnets (from the good old 100yen shop).   Then it is just a case of putting paper clips on the cards that you want to practice, throw them all over the floor, and the kids fish for them.   We used to play a whole range of games, from kids fishing for anything and running to the teacher to say the word in English, then scoring points like in the banana game on your site, or similar.  Karuta can also be done but can get a bit crazy with the kids fishing for the same card....     Or calling `red` and they have to find a fruit, piece of clothing, or whatever, that has that colour.  (This is usually better than straight Karuta as the kids aren`t all fighting for the same card). 

 It is such a great game and once the fishing poles have been made up they can be pulled out at the last minute if you suddenly have a class thrown at you, and is great for student trial or parent observation lessons.  Just have to be careful of weaker magnets - sometimes they are so bad that the kids keep dropping there cards!!!! But this can be kind of funny as well, so long as the kids aren`t the wee little ones that would tend to cry.....

I have also done it for Junior High Students, where we made up Question cards and had them turned over face down, with points on the back of the cards (so the students could see the points).  Of course, higher points meant a more difficult question, so they could choose to fish for an easy or a difficult question.  We sometimes did it with teacher asking the question and the `fisher` answering, but it is more fun when they play in pairs and have to ask and answer in their pairs.  OR, yet another version, have 2 areas of cards - one as above with questions face down, and another circle of cards with the answers face up.  The students play in pairs, with one at each circle, preferably the card circles should be far apart.  The student at the Question circle fishes a card, then calls out the question to their partner, who then has to find an appropriate answer and fish for it.  It is fun if the answers are made to be able to fit a number of questions, and if they fished a `strange` answer (e.g. What do is your favourite sport?` `I like making sandwiches`), so long as they can come up with an explanation (e.g. A sandwich making competition could be a sport!!!) I gave them points!   This made it more fun for them and also makes it more difficult to match questions to answers as the game goes on. 

Enjoy, thanks for the great site - Although I am familiar with the majority of games here, browsing through it helps jog my memory of games I had forgotten about, like this one.   Also gives little versions of games, and just generally gets me excited about teaching again when I feel like I am having an idea-less day. 
: )


Sign up to get my top tips, games & hints via email!

Copyright (C) 1999/2023 by Richard Graham
Main Menu -|- Buy the Set -|- Contact Me