English Challenge

Level Aims Grammar Time Materials
junior high school third year to senior high school extra fun any entire period Clue sheets distributed about the school.

Basically, this a rigorous 'Treasure hunt' type activity in which groups of students solve clues that take them all over the school looking for the final place. Begin by dividing the class up into groups of 4-6 members, and assigning them group names (Sakura, Samurai, Nampa, Baka etc.). Students are told that there are 'English Challenge' clues hidden all over the school. They should not follow other groups or bother other classes (violators lose their right to play, but that's never happened).

Each group is given its own, different initial clue. Each following clue practices a different grammar point. Solving each clue directs the team to where to find the next clue. The first clue shouldn't be too tough, or else it might discourage some teams. For five groups you will need to have prepared 5 sets of clues in 4 different places (i.e., 20 clue sites plus the initial clue handouts in the classroom).

The JTE and ALT give hints to slow teams, and work to slow down the fast teams. They also make sure that no-one is playing hooky. Have at least one clue outside (weather permitting), and a total of about 5 clues. Warn the other teachers in the morning meeting that students from that/those particular class(es) will be running amok, and not to worry.

The kids love this, even the most surly third year, because it's competitive, its all over the school (they can't get over being able to go outside), and it's pretty freewheeling. Even at the toughest schools there have been few problems. Give prizes to the first 2 teams who complete the exercise.

Teaching Tip

When making photocopies that need to be guillotined, mark out your master sheet in a grid of equal sized rectangles/squares before pasting the pictures, words, phrases, or sentences to it. Your masters need only be on thin, near white paper, and it's desirable that your grid lines be seen in the copied sheets as this makes it simple to guillotine the sheets (several at a time) into same sized individual cards. When making cards for 'Karuta' don't be afraid to make them LARGE.

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