Alphabet Games

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Name of Teacher: Erika Egner

Class/Grade/Language Level: Elementary school, grades 3-6

Textbook and specific lesson: N/A (can be used with Hi, Friends 1 Lesson 6)

Goal: To become more familiar with the letters of the alphabet

Preparation: Alphabet song CD, alphabet cards (large cards for the board; enough small cards for each group of 4-5 students to have one set)

Class time: 45 minutes


1. Greetings

Do your standard greeting, whatever it is you do

2. Review letters of the alphabet

As always, pay attention to difficult letters (C, M/N, G/Z, B/V)

3. Song

Sing the alphabet song. If you’ve studied the alphabet with them before, once is probably enough. If it’s the first time, go over it a couple of times.

4. Missing Game

a. Arrange alphabet cards, in order, on the blackboard
b. Have students close their eyes.
c. Remove 2-3 cards from the board and tell students to open their eyes.
d. Students raise their hands when they know which cards are missing.
e. Do this several times, increasing the number of missing cards each time, or (with 5-6 grade) mixing up the remaining cards so that they’re no longer in order. Start with easy letters and then add some problem letters in (V, Z, etc)

5. Concentration Game

a. Give each han a set of alphabet cards and have them spread the cards randomly over their desks.
b. Say the names of some letters. I start with just two and slowly increase the number based on how easily the students pick it up.
c. Once you say ‘Go!’ students work as a group to find the cards you named and lay them out in the order you said them.
Notes: With this game, it’s important to explain the rules clearly beforehand, so maybe enlist the help of the HRT if your Japanese is so-so. Be very clear about the fact that it’s a cooperation game, not karuta, and that it doesn’t matter who finds the cards first. Also, tell them not to touch the cards until you say ‘Go!’ or it’s too easy, and try to mix up easy letters with difficult ones. After I’ve done it as a class four times or so, I have students give questions to the other members of their group. Usually it's best to start with three letters at first, but if every student in the group gets a chance, tell them to increase it to four.

6. Ending greetings