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Samurai Hat Janken Game

  Hasan Ahmet (ex-kuju ALT, 2003-2005)
level:  Elementary
target_English:  Any (Family/ Days of the week/ emotions/ weather etc)

I have used a few of your games in the past from, and thought to return the favour!
'Samurai Hat' janken game- as the name suggests, this involves making a samurai hat, and playing janken.
To make the samurai hat, use just less than a double-sided sheet of newspaper (about 25 cm x 25 cms).  This is a square shape, which you give to each student.Through the magic powers of origami, the students make a samurai hat (I'm sorry I can't demonstrate this in pictures- any good book on origami should show this!)
( Or you can have a look at this link )

1. On the front of the samurai hat, get each student to write and draw their designated vocab word (i.e. if teaching emotions- 'happy', 'sad', 'angry' etc)

2. Once this is done, tell the students to put their hats on, stand up, and clear their desks. After forming an orderly queue, hand-out 5 playing chips to each student (most elementary schools have a big jar/ box of chips somewhere!)

3. Then, demonstrate with one volunteer student how to play the game: Target Language question- 'How are you?'The student replies 'I'm happy' (as according to their hat); the question is then asked back, and the reply again is according to what's written on the hat.

4. After this, the pair janken: the winner gets a chip; the loser loses a chip. However, both players, swap hats regardless, and assume their new identities/ emotions!

5. The winner of the samurai hat janken game is the one with the most chips! And of course, the students get to keep their funky hats afterwards!

This game works well with a time-limit; if a student loses all their chips by the appointed time, just give them a few back-handers!
Before making the hats, its best to pre-teach the target language (question/ vocab) before-hand.
As stated already, this game can be adapted to teach any target language, but I found teaching the family (father/ mother/ brother/ sister) in the guise of samurais the funniest.


( Another good variation of this game is to give each kid an A4 laminated picture of a famous person. They ask "Who are you?" or "What's your name?" then janken, the loser gives the winner a chip and they trade photos! )

If you have a great idea please share it with everyone by submitting it to this page!
Or check out the main Genki English Games Page

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