True or false games, or “Maru-Batsu” games, are really, really popular group games in Japanese schools.
Since the students already know how to play, these make great additions to your lessons as assessments for comprehension.
〇 “Maru” (circle) is if its true
✕ “Batsu” (X) is if its false
Students often hold their arms up making a circle or cross their arms as an X for their answer. This is where those emoji come from!
Some easy 〇✕ Integrations
At the end of a self-introduction lesson, I like to do an appropriate true-false quiz with the students (1st graders may only ask colors and weather, while 5th graders may have country and favorite foods as questions) to see what English they caught, and what they remember.
Get kids to repeat the right answer, too, even if some are shouting it out. This gets the kids who were wrong, or maybe just shy, to speak even a little bit.
Some of these questions are things like:
It’s very hot where I come from. (✕ false, it’s cold)
I use gestures for hot and cold, for those kids who might not have picked up the word quite yet
I have ten cats (✕ false, I only have 2)
Ask the students “how many cats do I have?”
My favorite color is pink (〇 true, it is pink)
I’m 100 years old (✕ false, I’m pretty sure)
Make sure these are things you have very clearly stated in your introduction lesson, and have had pictures to associate with the questions.
“Do you like …?”
These are especially good for teaching things the students may like or dislike. Instead of it being a True-False game, it’s more of a Yes-No situation.
If you are teaching fruit, a good quick assessment is to ask, “do you like (fruit)?”
Have the students hold up their hands in 〇✕, and have them practice correct phrase.
Teacher: “Do you like grapefruit?”
〇 Students: “Yes I do! I like grapefruit.”
✕ Students: “No I don’t! I don’t like grapefruit.”
If your students need some counting practice, have each group stand up and count how many students said they like it, versus how many didn’t. Count one by one, to give number practice. Remember, 11, 12, 13 are especially tricky for kids to remember.
“Can you …?”
Of all the lessons in the “Hi, Friends” textbook, I tend to see kids struggle the most with actions and time (Grade 6, Lesson 3 “I can swim” and Grade 6, Lesson 6 “What time do you get up?”)
They are both verb-heavy units, with a lot of vocabulary and new ways of applying it. Prior to this, they have been dealing mostly with nouns, and this is their first taste of using their own verbs and nouns together.
So, when they being their learning of “play …,” “play the …,” “ride a …,” and “(none),” a 〇✕ game can help them get the rhythm of the questions without being wrong.
Teacher: “Can you play soccer?”
〇 Students: “Yes I can play soccer.”
✕ Students: “No I can’t play soccer.”
Then, change it up. Have the students ask you “can you …” questions. Encourage them to be silly (“Can you ride a giraffe?” “Can you play the umbrella?”).
Finally, put them in their han groups (usually groups of four or five students that move their desks together if they haven’t already) and have them each ask their group “can you …?” questions.
Naoki: “Yura, can you play the piano?”
Yura: “Yes I can play the piano.”
Naoki: “Kou, can you play the piano?”
Kou: “No I can’t play the piano.”
Naoki: “Mari, can you play the piano?”
Mari: “No I can’t play the piano.”