Was Were – Jaken for cards and points

Was Were – Jaken for cards and points


Past Tense “was, were” – I was at the convenience store yesterday. We were at the police station on Friday.


Print the pages provided and glue the picture page to the back of the shapes page. Then cut the double sided document into cards. Preferably making enough cards that each student has three cards or more.

Or skip the nonsense of printing shapes and draw them yourself. To each their own.


I made this game up on the fly, an hour before class. At the time I didn’t think anything of it, but my students seemed to really like it. So here we are.

How to play:

Hand each student a set of cards (3 or more) and have the students make pairs. Do not disclose the meaning of the shapes on the back of the card. Then have them play “Jaken” (rock, scissors, paper). The winner gets to take a card from the losers set. The loser will ask “Where were you yesterday?” and the winner will reply with an answer that the chosen card prompts. Such as “I was at the convenience store yesterday.”

The winner keeps the card and moves on to a new partner.

Have this go on for a while and make sure to have some backup cards if one or more your students are very unlucky and have lost all their cards.

Once finished have the students return back to their seats with the cards they have won.

Reveal to them now, that each shape has a point value on the back of the card. Draw all four shapes and randomly assign number values to said shape. I chose the following;

Star: – 10 points

Circle: +10 points

Square: +20 points

Triangle: -5 points

In my case, one student who had lost many times at Jaken/R.P.S, ended up being the classroom winner because all he had were squares.

Places used:

McDonalds, Police Station (koban), park, 7-11, Himeji Castle/Mt. Fuji, Museum/Dinosaur Museum (if your cool), Tokyo Tower, Disney Land, Universal Studios Japan (or USJ), Tokyo/Mt. Fuji, America, Lawson, Mos Burger, the beach, and Tokyo Sky Tree.

Note to self: This game might be even more fun to apply to another grammar point, now that the students get the idea. I want to know which shapes they might choose to hoard. hmm…


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