Don Janken

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Name(s) of Teacher(s): Devin Holloway
Class/Grade/Language Level: Elementary School, All grades
Textbook and specific lesson: N/A
Goal: To review words and practice accessing vocabulary as quick as possible
Preparation: Large cards with pictures of target words
Class Time: 20+ minutes


  • Greet the class with “Hi, everyone”, “How are you?”, etc.
  • Follow with “The Hello Song” or any other brief song of your choice
  • “Smile Time”: Ss are to greet 3-5 friends and 1 teacher, though this of course can be changed to your liking. Typically an exchange involves greetings and the target question from the previous lesson “What naninani do you like?”, “Where do you want to go?”, etc.


  • Review the vocabulary from the previous lesson

Activity: Donjanken

  • Note: This game is a bit difficult to explain without a demonstration, so speak with the homeroom teacher(s) ahead of time to explain how it works and make the demo go as smoothly as possible! The first time is always slow to start but as it picks up and everyone catches on, it’s a total blast! Usually it dominates the entire class period.
  • Line the cards up on the floor and divide students into groups of about 5 or 6.
  • Have one team (Team A, for example) line up on one end of the cards. Have the same with the other team (Team B) on the other end.
  • The first student in line for each team is to go down the line saying the words as clearly as possible, pointing as they go.
  • When the two meet, ask them to janken battle. The winner remains where they are while the loser returns to the end of their line.
  • The next person in line on the losing team starts from the beginning again.
  • When someone reaches the other team, mix it up but shuffling the cards and/or having the teams switch places. You can keep score on the board.
  • Variation: If you are at a school where you are able to have more than two teams, you can play this game tournament style, though this will take a fair bit of time.

Cool down:

  • Count the points for each team together, ookii hakushu for everyone for trying their very best.