ALT Family Feud

You may be aware that I recently solicited the ALT community for responses to a questionnaire in the hopes that I could use the data to build a family feud style game. Well, I did my best, but only around 11 ALTs responded to my survey. I filled in the rest of the responses by soliciting my facebook friends, and ended up with about 55 responses. I've put it all together now, so here it is...

Making English Classroom Signs

This is a fun activity that any grade could do (including elementary school 6th or precocious younger grades). I did it as an “introduction to the dictionary” for my JHS 1st graders.

First, I gave them a blanked-out map of the school, and the worksheet. My OTE gave me the map of the school when I originally arrived so I’m not entirely sure where it came from, but someone at your school should have one.

Describing Something Japanese in English!

1 Demonstration

OTE: “Let’s eat lunch…..Oh no, I forgot my lunch!”

ALT: “Don’t worry, you can share with me” (ALT brings out their hamburger lunchbox) – note it doesn’t need to be  hamburger.

OTE: “What’s that? Your lunchbox?”

ALT: “It is made of plastic, it looks like a hamburger, it is made in japan, it tastes like plastic” (OTErepeats after me to confirm each sentence).

The Nakayoshi Final Exam!


This lesson is the final lesson for the Nakayoshi students. This lesson uses both written and verbal English skills.


1. The students must write their names in English, the date, and and their class (kumi).

2. The students must write the words in English (see attachment). Each word must be written two to three times.


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!”

Congratulatory notes for end of JHS

When my 3rd graders at junior high school graduated I printed and hand-signed a little note to give to each of them.

I used cute stickers to attach them to their English journals before I handed them back for the last time. You could attach them to a worksheet or just hand them out as they are (but they’re pretty small so may be lost/discarded more easily if not stuck onto something).

The attachment fits 9 per A4 page. The text reads as below, but of course you can change and personalise it as much as you want!


The Price Is Right!

This game is based on the bidding game from The Price Is Right TV show. It is quite fun as students are quite shocked at the difference in prices between counties.

Before class you will need to edit the printout to suit your countries products and prices. Print it out and cut up the price tags. Hide the price tags in a box or an envelope.

Time Capsules

A worksheet for students to write about their favourite memories from the past year and what they are looking forward to in the future.

It is nice to keep all the time capsules and return them a year later for the students to see what has changed in that time.

If you have told the students in advance it is fun to ask them to bring in a photo or something meaningful as well. You can open the time capsule as a class later on and appreciate it together.



  • Introduce vocabulary using flashcards. Keep the words simple. No more than eight words. I use: sun, moon, star, comet, planet, rocket, spaceship and alien.

  • Practice as a group then as individuals.


Paper Facebook Profiles

  1. ALT/JTE explain what a social networking site is, and show ALT’s own SNS profile as an example.
  2. ALT/JTE review the vocabulary on the worksheet.
  3. Students write their own profiles and ALT/JTE help students when necessary.
  4. Students exchange profiles and write comments on their friends’ profiles (like the facebook wall or myspace comment).

Travel Pamphlets

Travel pamphlets are everywhere in Japan, and all JHS 3rd graders go on a big school trip to somewhere they’ve likely never been before.  So why not combine the two, and English?

First class:  I explained the scope of the project and showed both my own example pamphlet and a large number of English pamphlets I have collected during my own travels in Japan.

As it takes a lot to write a paragraph of English text, students worked in groups, with one student writing one paragraph.  Each individual made a pamphlet that contained the group’s combined writing.

Graduation Message Book

Students write a note of paragraph-length or so as a final message in English to their friends.

In the first class, you’ll want to explain the topic and give them an example, and explain style elements and phrases of English graduation messages such as the classic “I will miss you all”.

Next, students write their messages, the ALT corrects and returns them and students write the final version.

Finally, the ALT copies and assembles the books.

Let's Make a Comic

A blank version of the the infamous dinosaur comics which I have added speech bubbles to to make it easier for students to write sentences.

Tell students they are to write the missing dialogue, anything is ok. For slower students allow them to work in pairs.

Math in English Class

  • Print out large numbers 0-9 on pieces of paper. Attach each set of numbers to a different construction paper color. Laminate if you want them to last. There should be 1 set of cards for every 10 students, so if you have 25 students, make three sets, if you have 35 students, make 4 sets.
  • Create a list of math problems using +, -, x, and /. The problems should only have each numeral used no more than once in the problem and answer. Ex. 5+6=11 does not work because the 1 is used twice, but 5+7=12 does because each number is only used once.

International Video and Poster Making Project

Make a 15 minute video with 10 ALTs from 10 different countries. Ask each person to speak for 1-2 minutes about the most popular/famous food, places, sports, music, animals, people, etc. in their respective countries.

Find pictures of the famous things each ALT talks about in the video and print them out. Print out a picture of each ALT. Make a description sheet for each country with the ALTs name and a list of all the pictures.