Calendar King

Students use a calendar to work out the dates of Japanese holidays.

Archived from Englipedia.
Originally submitted by Richard Fleming on Feb 17, 2008.


  • Photocopies of a calendar - one for each team, the JTE and the ALT. JET calendars work well.
  • If you’re able to, you can laminate them so you can reuse them and let students write on them.


  • Divide the class into teams. Teams of 6 are ideal. Ask the students to number themselves.
  • Give each team a copy of the calendar and ask them to divide the months between each team member. Students will hopefully use the group incentive to encourage sleepy, dopey and lazy to get involved.
  • Give them 2 minutes to familiarize themselves with the format of the calendar - you can ask them when their birthdays are and let them sign that day on the calendar.Start the game off simply to promote confidence. The first person in each group stands up. JTE/ALT asks, for example, “When is New Year’s Day?” . You will have to learn (if you don’t know already) how to say the holiday names in Japanese, though you can encourage students to attempt to read the English translation. I award minimum points for simple answers - January 1st, for example - but I award higher points if students can elaborate - We have New Year’s Day on January 1st , we eat zoni and osechi etc.
  • After a few easy questions, proceed to ‘Round 2’, which I call the Jeopardy round. This time you read out a date that a holiday falls on. The students then must come up with the question. For example - Teacher: Monday, May 5th. Student: When is Kodomo no hi? I award extra points in this round to students who attempt to say the English translation.
  • Writing round. Call out a date, a month or the name of a holiday. The student whose turn it is must then find the corresponding answer and run up to write it on the blackboard. For a month with more than 1 holiday, ask students to choose the one they like. Tell students they can take one friend up to the board with them to help - this helps to make sure nobody gets stage fright.
  • At the end of each round do a points review for each team. At the end of the game the winning team can bask in the glory of being Calendar Kings (or Queens).


  • You can have a round of international holidays (there’s a list at the back of the JET calendar).
  • For higher grade students you could use copies of past calendars to practice past tense (e.g. in 2006, when was Valentine’s Day?)
  • Quick fire bonus questions like, “February specialists! Run to the board and write the date of your birthday!"


  • Practice of months and dates of the year. Previous speaking, listening, reading and writing practice is required.


  • This can get really the kids really genki so ask the JTE to help prevent them turning into Calendar Killers
Submitted by Englipedia Archive September 18, 2019 Estimated time: 15-50 min

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