The Aliens are Coming!

Here are a few of the other great ideas that the teachers came up with at the Fukuoka ACET meeting the other day. Their next meeting is in September, be sure to pop along if you are in town!

Othello Phonics

I have to admit I still don’t quite get the rules of Othello yet, but apparently it’s really popular with junior high students!


1. Put down a grid of graphemes (letter symbols)
2. First team chooses a card.
3. If they say a word containing that phoneme they can put their counter on the card.
4. Continue with the other team using normal Othello rules.

Today they used both upper and lower case letters, but as usual I’d always recommend just sticking to lower case letters to begin with. You can of course use the game with any theme, just use the minicards!

Run! Stop! Sit down!

This is a game to teach kids how to sit down properly e.g in classes of 3 year olds, but can work well with any ages.
1. Say a command (e.g. basic verbs, superhero words etc.)
2. The kids repeat and do the action.
3. But if you say “sit down!” they have to run back to their seats as quickly as possible!

The key is to have funky music in the background, e.g. today they used Yummy Yummy by the Wiggles.

The Aliens are Coming!

Then it was storybook time. Craig who owns the eMac English school in Fukuoka did one of the best books I’ve seen in ages, “The Aliens are Coming” by Colin McNaughton.

The vocab is of course way above most kids’ level, but the rhythm and rhyme match the quality of Dr Seuss, with a very catchy hook line! Highly recommended. Also note how Craig adds in extra activities as well as tons of expression whilst reading the book!

Part one of this post is here, and as I say if you’re in Fukuoka then be sure to pop along to the next ACET meeting in September, they really did come up with all these ideas and more in just one afternoon!

Richard Graham

Hello, I'm Richard Graham. And when I was a kid I found school to be sooooo boring... So I transformed my way of teaching. I listened to what the kids were really wanting to say and taught it in ways they really wanted to learn. The results were magical. So I'm sharing it all with you now...

8 Responses to “The Aliens are Coming!”

  1. Julian-k

    I’ve tried Othello up on the board with big cards before with 6th graders. I just split the class into two teams and it worked fairly well. I’ve got to be honest though, the rules baffle me a little too – but the kids got it even if there was allot of arguing about what could and couldn’t be turned over!

  2. Julian

    A-ha! Thanks for this. I’ve been meaning to figure out a way to use the ever popular Othello to practice some English. Turns out it can be pretty simple! Nice.

  3. Flossy

    Two great games. I especially like the commands game, perfect for new starters in school or a lively class.

    Reading books is such popular activity with my students too. I have several books that have words and phrases the children do not understand. I too just pick out the picture clues or get the children to join in with counting, colours etc. I love the reaction of the adults, the beauty queen page got a great response. I am going to the city today, so I will ask in the English book store if they have this book there.

    Should we start a post on the forum to share ISBN’s for books, a little like the post your favourite teaching site??? I have lots of great books that I could put there or has this been done before??

  4. Carol

    Having played Othello alot as a kid, I think this a super idea! I bet it would be easier to keep track for the teams if the counters were different colors.

    The book seems wonderful! I like Flossy’s idea of putting neat books on the forum. I think we already have a thread on it, started a while back. I’ll have to search for it. I remember posting a site from the French dept of Education…

    Even if the kids don’t grasp everything, they’ll still get the input and learn to use context to figure out meaning, a very necessary skill!

  5. Margit

    I did the othello today.
    It’s perfect as review for my 6th graders. It actually takes pretty much time, but it’s lot’s of English practice

    I like the idea of a ISBN Flossy,
    if possible one for kids books, one to use as “teaching resources” and maybe one for “just so” books?!

  6. Jon

    The sit down game is a good one, but to add extra dimension, the winner could be the one who gives their best effort to the final command “sit up” or “sit up straight”, once most of the kids are back in their chairs. Remember how much fun musical statues was?

    What we really want to encourage is the kids having an appropriate classroom posture whether it is on a chair, at the table, or on the floor.

    My students interpreted my request for “good posture” as the “seiza” position, which can be tough on those little legs, but the kids seemed to be able to behave their best in this position. This has really been the key to excellent classroom deportment (and results) with my young ones for a few years now.

    Once the kids can sit down well, you can probably extend the original command to “sit down then put your hands on your knees/under your legs/in your lap/etc/etc”.

  7. Miki

    Richard!
    Thanks for dropping in to our meeting last weekend! It was nice seeing you! And as always, thanks for your great ideas!
    Where are you in the world? Are you headed to Australia after all?
    Oh, and thanks for helping me to my car. I’m not so use to having gentlemen around. You are sweet.
    Let me know of any great apps!
    Miki Inosaka-Rust
    Acting ACET president

  8. Sevy28

    I’m always happy to find new games and activities. Thanks for that. It looks very amazing.

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