High School

The Sengoku Game

Students are divided into teams, preferably six. Each team nominates a leader, and on their turn the leader comes to the blackboard.

They say the name of a Japanese prefecture, such as Hyogo. They then have thirty seconds (or a full minute for first years) to come up with a word that starts with each letter of the prefecture. For example, Hello You Orange Great October. No repeats, and the words must have at least three letters.

Society Changers


In EUB, a reading course, we spent a unit focusing on two people whose actions have positively affected the lives of many people in their homelands and around the world: Wangari Maathai and Muhammad Yunus, both of whom have won the Nobel Peace Prize for their work.


At the end of the unit students were asked to form pairs and then do the following:

10 Chairs — Unequal Distribution of Wealth

This is an economics lesson in English.  I have done it twice in Japan with H.S. grade 2 students in a “Comparative Culture” class (it is an elective social studies class taught in English). It fits into our unit on Global Inequalities.

The lesson is quite popular in American classrooms.  A thorough description can be found on many websites.  Here are a few links to the lesson plan:

International Festivals Project


Students present an international festival in pairs to the class using pictures and music.


1 .Introduce students to an international festival in class with a presentation including a lot of pictures. This is a sample of the the final product expected from them. (Can also be used as a listening comprehension exercise.)

Give them a list of examples (with one or two pictures) of many interesting world festivals e.g. La Tomatina, Rio Carnival, Orange Throwing festival, Chinese New Year etc.

Music genre project


Students each create a poster and do an oral presentation on an international music genre and artist of their choice.


1.Introduce students to music genres. For example classical, rap, rock, country, reggae, zook, folk, indie, Mongolian Throat singing, Indian music, calypso etc.

Give them a list of genres with a short description in English for each one (musical instruments, speed, type of vocals etc). Go through the list with the students to make sure they understand.

Which one is different?

This is a warm up, power point exercise I use.  Create slides with four pictures.  The students need to think of what the pictures have in common, and will single out the one picture that doesn’t have it.   It is a good exercise because there are multiple answers for many of the sets.  I usually just do 3 or 4 a day and give out stamps to students with good answers.

Possible sentence  patterns are:

A, B, and C are ~ but D is not.

A, B, and C are ~ but D is a ~.

A, B, and C have ~ but D does not.

Pen Pal Project

This Pen Pal project is designed to teach your students how to adapt their own Jico-Shoukai (Self introduction) into a more intersting and full description of themselves, their lives, and the culture they live in.  Using this more in depth portrait of themselves they will learn how to talk to people from other countries about themselves in a more interestsing way, whilst learning about the fascinating differences between their two cultures.  To compliment this, new devices and expressions in English regarding sending and recieving letters and understanding foreign addresses will be learned.


We (Naoko Miyashige and Becky Cassie) teach a class together 3 times a week for a subject called ‘Cultural Understanding.’ We use the textbook ‘JTALK.’ We have stamp cards, which contribute to the students’ grades, but we also use a motivational poster.

On the poster we have:

“~ed” vs. “~ing” (Feelings/emotions)

While marking some speeches that the 3nensei wrote about their school trip to Tokyo, I noticed a lot of the same mistakes being repeated and repeated… so much so that I decided to make note of it and ask the 3nensei teacher if we could dedicate a lesson to discuss this once 2nd semester started up.

The common mistakes are misusing “~ed” and “~ing” when discribing states of feeling. For example, I often saw: “It was very excited”, “I was surprising!”, “I was very exciting!”

Round Robin Interview

This activity is similar to the Speed Dating activity from Summer School.


The regular activity is to be used as a 10-15 minute warm-up activity to get the students thinking and excited about English at the beginning of every class.

For 2/3-nensei at JHS and HS, you'll most likely need 30 minutes or more to initially review and check the understanding for each sentence and example options for each side. I usually start with A side and move onto B side in 3 or so weeks.