Godzilla Iowa Attack +
20 to 30 min
To be absolutely clear. I did not invent this game. This is simply my take on what is a great game according to every ESL teacher on the internet and my personal experience in the classroom. The original inspiration for this game is called, “Typhoon.” Here are several links to versions of Typhoon around the internets.
Basically you can stop reading here if that looks like what you want. However I have adapted this specifically for use with the New Horizon textbook vocabulary. If you are using New Horizon in Japan then you can download my template for use in the 7th 8th and 9th grade classrooms.
This game is awesome. The students have so much fun and its easy to execute. With the Godzilla cards the students who are not quite as advanced will have a chance to keep up with the group that possesses the strongest English skills. If you see one group making consistent mistakes with each sentence they bring up you can have the JTE execute a mini less with that group during the game or after class. You can also check on pronunciation and reading comprehension when they read the sentences to you at the front of the class.
Purpose: A comprehensive review of grammar points and textbook vocabulary in the New Horizon books.
Secondary Purpose: To have an absolute blast learning English.
If you checked out the other links you will have noticed a few mentions that the classes can get rather raucous. This is very true. I had actually had one class stopped because the 8th graders were so into it.
Prep: Download the attached templates for the appropriate grade level and unit or make your own. I have broken them down by unit so depending on where you are at in the book you can download up to that unit. Feel free to make your own Godzilla cards but I have attached the image I used. Cut out all the individual cards and make sure not to mix up the 9th grade with the 7th grade. Make or find an opaque box that is big enough to mix all your cards up in with a hole in the top to draw the cards out. I recommend using a large piece of A3 paper for each team rather than having them write in their notebooks. When class starts have the students form teams. 5 to 6 teams will work best. I place an A3 size picture of Godzilla on the black board.
The Game: Each team will have one student come up and draw a card from the box. The team will have to make a sentence using the word or phrase on the card. They are allowed to use textbooks but no dictionaries. When they have finished their sentence one student must come up and read the sentence aloud to the ALT. The ALT will then correct the sentence if necessary and assign the appropriate point value to their team or send the student back to try again. The student may then exchange the vocabulary card for a new one. If they draw a Godzilla card the team loses all their houses (points). You can raise and lower the intensity level of the game by adding or subtracting Godzilla cards or putting cards that have been drawn back into the box. They must rotate each student in the group for sentence presentation with the ALT. Set a time limit at the beginning. When there is 1 min left, stop the card drawing but they can finish the sentences they are working on.
Execution: Assign a number to each team. Put the numbers on the blackboard (1-6) with a lot of space between them. Explain the game in English. Using the board to demonstrate the points system. Remind the students that they have to keep the shouting under control.
As you are explaining the game have each team pick a city name for all their houses to go under. I have one student from each team come up and write their “city” name in Romaji or English on the board.
To start the game have 1 student from each team line up in numerical order. They will each draw a card. If they draw Godzilla on their first try they go to the back of the line.
(I will add more units as I execute them. For New Horizon 1, some of the cards are spelling challenges or answering questions. For 9th grade, there are grammar cards where any word is acceptable as long as it used in the right voice).
A) 1 sentence = 1 house.
B) 1 difficult sentence = Leo Palace (4 houses). (I also have played with 4 Leo palaces = 1 skyscraper – worth 20 houses, a bonus of 4 houses for attempting difficult sentences – but it takes a lot time to draw that. I wouldn’t recommend adding this wrinkle unless you have two teachers helping).
C) Godzilla Card = All houses destroyed.
D) If the sentence was difficult but incorrect, award 1 house and correct the sentence.
E) If the sentence was simple and incorrect send them back to work with their team to correct it.
F) If necessary starting erasing houses for being too noisy. Even the JTE’s at one school got really into it and were almost as loud as the students.
Tie Breaker: At the end of the game if two teams are tied I put all the Godzilla cards back in the box and have them draw back and forth until one team draws a Godzilla card. Make them play rock paper scissors to see who draws first.
Example: card drawn – to visit (8th grade vocab)
simple sentence: He is going to visit Yakushima. This sentence is from the textbook and worth 1 house. (If you want to up the difficulty level, take the text books away after a couple rounds or start without them).
difficult sentence: He was going to visit Yakushima but he has no money. It is very important to demonstrate a few examples of simple versus difficult. I had the JTE pretend to be a student and create different sentences. I rate the difficulty on the fact that they didn’t just rearrange a textbook sentence and the use of conjunctions or causal phrasing.
difficult sentence with mistake for 1 house: He was to go to visit Yakushima but he have no money. Simple conjugation mistakes and forgetting the/a/an I let slide after pop-quizzing the student about them when they bring the sentence up for me to check. I use the same process for capitalization errors.
any sentence missing subject, verb, incorrect order of subject verb or incorrect usage from a definition standpoint will be sent back: Yakushima he to visit. visit to Yakushima he goes. to visit yakushima.
A final thought: Why did I change the name of this to Godzilla? Very simple. I don’t like to remind the students of actual natural disasters. In the Tohoku region evidence of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami are with us every day. “But, Andrew,” you might say, “typhoons and tsunamis are totally different! LOL!” I don’t care. It may seem silly but I don’t think natural disasters make good pivot points for games. I wouldn’t use a game called “Tornado” in Oklahoma or Kansas with young students.
Why did I choose Iowa? Well, first off it’s silly. Secondly its not Japan. Third, nothing interesting happens in Iowa, at least now I can pretend.