CD9 Games in Action

Today was the first of 2 days follow up teacher training from the week’s training we did in December. Half is me for the listening and speaking and half is the phonics programme for reading and writing.

After another address to the school assembly (where the kids had just been doing their morning exercises!) and setting up it was off we went….


We had some new teachers so to review rule number 1 “I can do it!” it was into the new Superhero song. That worked a treat! I stressed about using the software more to get the pronunciation right and they loved it.

But when I came to ask “Can you fly?” all the teachers said “no”. Ahhhh. So it was into a speech about thinking outside the box and about how we’re not just teaching English, it’s the life skills that the future leaders of China, who we are now educating, are going to need. With a very Genki translator to help out they started getting all exciting again.

The line I always use is “Well I was in Singapore the other day, and I know I didn’t walk to Beijing…..”


We’ve also had some problems with some teachers deciding on their own to not do any games. It seems to be because they are either a)a bit traditional or b) a little scared, and don’t want kids running around too much as they feel they would be out of control. Fighting the traditional “children should be seen and not heard” and “the teacher is the only one who should talk” is still a problem in many places.

So for the first game today I wanted to do something that doesn’t have the kids running around too much, so did the “design your own superhero, draw a picture, pick a name and tell us what they can do” activity. They did great with it with some cool stuff – “change into” was a popular request. “I can change into an apple, a helicopter and a computer!”.

So I asked if they could do it with their classes and they all said “no!”. What?? OK, so I asked why and the first grade teachers, yes first grade, said “our children don’t have any imagination”. Ah dear. Sometimes kids’ worst enemies are their teachers! It’s not the kids who are suffering from a lack of imagination, it’s the adults! But luckily I have a secret weapon in the form of Flossy’s Imagination Sheets video which I’m going to show them tomorrow, that is going to knock their socks off when they see what kids can really do!

(I still can’t get YouTube here so I hope this video came up OK!)

Can you speak?

Because they’ve only been teaching 20 Genki English themes so far, one thing I need to do this week is to show them how future themes link up and link in with each other so effectively we are teaching “grammar” it’s just that we don’t call it grammar.

So I did the Can you speak…? song to link in with the “I can…” of the superhero song. Again they really loved it.

One of the things they do in the Chinese textbooks, which is quite cool, is to use the Chinese flag to introduce colours (red and yellow), shapes (stars!) and numbers (how many stars are there?). There’s a lot of info in the Can you speak…? picture cards, and usually I just use the rough quantity of the flags to show how useful English is because you can use it in so many places. But we realised today that it’s also great to teach colours, shapes, numbers etc. as some of the flags are pretty amazing.

Then I wanted to do a real genki active game. Luckily last night Sara sent in some amazing games to use with this theme. (They’re at the end of the Can you speak…? page). We haven’t put any budgets in for printing cards etc. in the classes yet so for now, and just because they were teachers, I just got them to write down one language each on a piece of paper.


1. Get in a circle.
2. Hold up your card.
3. The rule is you can’t move your heads or eyes. You’ve got to be still! (Cue lots of laughing!)
4. Teacher says “Can you speak German?”
5. Everyone says “3, 2, 1, Jump!”
6. You jump to face and point to where you think someone who has a German card is.
7. You either say “German” or “I can speak German” as you point.
8. The German person then picks another language and asks “Can you speak….?”
9. Repeat from step 5.

As you can hopefully see from the video below it was a huge hit!

(I’m trying a new video service today, does this come up OK?)

Along with my rough camera footage, we’ve also had a professional TV guy filming everything so I’ll try and get as much video into the owners club as I can when I get time to edit it up.

Phonics -> Reading

Then for the final hour in the morning it was a review of the phonics lessons they’ve been doing, just to get the new people on board. The programme they’ve introduced is working really well, with a brilliantly designed lesson plan that the teachers are really mastering. I’ll see if I can get more online for you because I can highly recommend it!

Then after lunch the Dr from the UK introduced the next phonics programme. The lesson still looks good but the jump to reading means that there is a heck of a lot of vocab the kids will need to pick up on.

The main thrill with phonics is when kids can look at a strange mash of symbols which they don’t understand, then sound it out and suddenly realise “oh, that says …. !!!” That’s what spurs them on so much. Of course if they haven’t heard the word before then it doesn’t work.

Just looking at the amount of content in this new phonics course, which was designed for kids in the UK, we’re either going to have to ramp up Genki English so they cover many, many more themes much more quickly or introduce some type of extensive listening course. But anyway, that’s what we’re researching so we’ll see how things go.

Then it was time for me to do some more Genki stuff in the final hour.

Winter Clothes & Two Hour Lesson Plans

Tomorrow I’ve got lots of feedback and in depth reporting I need them to do, so I kept things pretty light and fun for the last hour today. You know I should market Genki English as an adult course because they get so much enjoyment out of it when they become students learning English with GE!

So we did Baby Monkey’s Clothes and they loved the opera bits!

As they have two hours per Genki English theme then I wanted to introduce the “2 hour lesson plan” It’s very simple, you just do the one hour lesson plan as usual, then in lesson two you review the song and game for 15-20 minutes, then introduce a follow up activity using the same English for example the Picture Book or Imagination worksheet or even another game. As we are needing more listening and vocab exposure then I went for the first option and they loved them.

Pronouns & Dinosaurs

Then I wanted to introduce the pronouns song. Many of these words are introduced in phonics courses as “tricky words” or “sight words” or “irregular words” and it’s important that the kids have been exposed to them in aural form before seeing the written word. Using the pronouns song we can also show how mixing two themes together can make the knowledge of 8 sentences in one theme i.e. I’m hungry etc. suddenly multiply into 64 brand new sentences. In the future I’ll also be adding “was” and “will be” themes so you’ll be able to say things like “I was hungry, now I’m tired, later I’ll be thirsty” type constructions.

And we played the I am a dinosaur game, which they loved. Again this should be an adult course not just for kids!

Then we did the Superhero song again to finish on a high note.

So a very nice and very easy day. I was a bit worried about the lack of imagination, and the few new teachers who were saying things like “oh, that’s too hard” (the difference between the teachers who’d been trained before and had been teaching GE and those that hadn’t is amazing in their views of what can be achieved) but for most of the teachers we easily got over that and they were great.

So then it was out for more gorgeous Chinese food, this time dumplings. And we also heard that there’s a new “learn English in 8 days” programme out here, which will be great to implement if it’s really true!

Richard Graham

I'm on a mission to make education Genkiβ€”fun, exciting, and full of life! Genki English has now been researched by Harvard University and licensed by the British Council around the world. The results have been magical! Now I'm here to help you teach amazing lessons, with all the materials prepared for you, and to double your teaching income so you can sustainably help many more students in the future!

9 Responses to “CD9 Games in Action”

  1. Yumiko

    It’s so great to hear about how Chinese teachers and kids are doing. Thinking of the period they have been using Genki English (only three months?), their progress is amazing! It proves how effective Genki English method is! Genki English is not only “how to teach” but “how to think”. I hope Japanese classroom teachers notice it too.

    I keep on wishing you good luck, Richard!

    (I could see Flossy’s video with no problem, but the new one didn’t work on my computer…)

  2. Julian-k

    Wow, it sounds like this project is really going somewhere. It shows how effective GE really is, but it also shows just how much progress China itself has made.
    Also I think GE is definitely for adults too – I use it with all off my older students (normally one-on-one or two, three people). We don’t do to many active games, but we do use the software, sing along to the videos, play the card games etc. GE works better as grammar instruction than I’m sure alot of people realize.

  3. Ms.Lucky

    I am drying to witness your workshops again πŸ™

    It’s good to see genki in China…I hope Hong Kong is next! Your CD.9 looks very super genki! Super heroes? Wow!!! I’ll try that imagination idea πŸ™‚

    (hint hint??) I didn’t really get that huhuhu…

    Banned in China? How come? Well I’m sure you’ll love the video πŸ˜€

    Take Care and I hope to see you real SOON!

  4. Flossy

    What an fantastic experience. It looks like it is on such a grand scale too. Seeing the children lined up looks very strange to most Europeans. I do think the children must really benefit from the morning exercises to wake them up. I always use one of the two Disco warm up songs in my classes to get them into GE and wide awake!!

    Imagination was never a problem for me as a child. I loved to read and went to some amazing places in my mind. When I first starting teaching with GE many teachers found it a little strange. They could not ‘think outside the box’ just as Richard said. They soon see though it works so well to let the children’s minds run wild!!! Being a Superhero has been one of those amazing experience for so many of my children.

    Looking forward to seeing all the footage and using some of the great ideas in this post.

    Thanks Richard!

  5. Sara

    Hey Richard-
    I love the modifications you made to the 123 Jump Game! I’ll have to try it out that way, too.

    Your comments have got me thinking now about using some GE in my adult classes, too…

    Also the 2 videos worked just dandy for me. Keep churning out the blog, I’m loving the inspiring reading!

  6. Carol

    I am really amazed by the orderliness of the kids, all lined up like little soldiers. I bet it’s really different for the teachers to be more open/imaginative after having grown up during a period that was pretty repressive. So I say Bravo for them and the progress they have made. GE should help them too!

    I liked reading your synopsis in the other post too as it gives ideas as well. I’m not that solid in my GE technique either… always looking to improve myself!

    The videos came through just fine. Really fun to watch. I’m eager to hear yoru next update!!

  7. Alison

    Dear Richard

    Firstly I must compliment you on Genki English. It’s definitely the only site I’ve found which caters for younger learners.

    I’m in Italy and I’ve used your material many times. I currently teach a private group of 8 year-olds. Shock, horror, I don’t always use the songs but have adapted your material to suit the class.

    It’s a small group of 5 students. I started by teaching them the Disco Warm Up and this is how I (more or less) run the lessons:

    1) Either Disco Warm Up or Simon Says (always incorporating new material). I also fake actions to test comprehension.
    2) I then do the Lines Quiz as a review. I present the flash cards and ask questions such as: What’s this? What are these? What colour is it? Do you like..? etc. etc. Because it’s a small group, I do the reverse to your teaching. ie. If you get it wrong, you sit down. Italian kids are very competitive and HATE getting it wrong, so this works well for me. (Of course I promote the concept of “taking part” – I’m English!)
    3) I introduce new vocab /new phrases. Get the kids to sit down and colour the cards. I circulate: What’s this? Do you like..? How many..?
    4) Might do a song, but not always – no cd player, don’t want to break my computer. Sometimes I use it as background music. When they finish colouring, I always ask them..What’s this? etc. etc.
    5) Dominoes: 3 games. 1 finalist, 2nd finalist. The final. You can’t put a card down unless you can say the word. Winner takes the cards home.
    6) Snakes and Ladders. Again, winner takes the game home.

    It’s a whole heap of you and a little of me. The only thing I know is that when we have to cancel a lesson (Italy next week – Easter), there is a collective sigh….

    It’s learning, but it’s not learning.

    Thank you.


  8. Yumiko

    I could watch the second video too! (I don’t know what was wrong.) All the teachers are enjoying the game. Great!

  9. Rosebud

    What a great game to play. I must try that one out.

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