Disney Dollars

Exciting speaking game (adaptable to other grammar points)

This is a very simple but fun activity I did with my junior high schoolers, but it should also be possible for elementary schoolers with small tweaks. It should be very versatile for various grammar points as well! All the rules are laid out pretty simply in the presentation, so take a look at that first if you'd like!

The premise of the game is that everyone gets five "Disney Dollars" which they can bet each round with a partner. Rather than having them find their own partner, I have them push their desks together with their partner and then one partner moves to the next desk back after every round. (Depending on how many rounds you do, they will probably play the same partners twice.)

At the start of the round, the partners choose together how much to bet. I generally limit it from one to three dollars per round. Of course, the partners each bet the same amount of money. When everyone is ready, I count down from five and reveal the Japanese sentence on the board. The first partner to say the sentence correctly takes the money. After the initial babble dies down, I reveal the English sentence and have them repeat after me and check if they really got it right.

If they both got it wrong, didn't know the answer, or said it at the same time, they should do rock-paper-scissors to see who gets the money. One partner moves to the next desk and we do it all over again.

When they run out of money, they can come to the teacher for a loan. I usually give them two dollars and encourage them to make small bets until they get their money back, but you'll inevitably have those kids who lose their money nearly every round anyways.

Students who have outstanding loans at the end of the game have to do a lighthearted "punishment," I usually just have them stand up and answer a question or something.

Print out and laminate the Disney Dollars. I recommend about 12 sheets of them, which should give you plenty of extra for loans. (35 students x 5 dollars = 175 dollars) (18 dollars on a page x 12 sheets = 216 dollars) This takes time but given how versatile the game is, it should be worth it!

I did a review at the beginning to make sure all the kids are super solid on the sentences before we start the game. I left that in the presentation in case it's useful, but if not, feel free to delete it. You can also change the teacher introduction at the beginning to an introduction of your JTE.

There's also some flavorful Japanese from Goofy and Mickey in the explanation that always makes my students laugh, but feel free to take that out or change to English as you see fit.

The eight questions in the presentation now take about 15 minutes to get through, so add or delete as time allows.

Small files
  • Disney Dollars.docx (231 KB)
  • Medium files (requires an account to download) -
  • 3rdPersonIntroDisneyDollars.pptx (3.11 MB)
  • PastTenseDisneyDollars.pptx (3.16 MB)
  • 28
    Submitted by chillyquill November 26, 2021 Estimated time: 25 min.
    1. dominiquednl August 26, 2022

      looks fun!!

    2. joyceisachoice October 13, 2022

      I tried this with my first years to review L3 and they loved it! They get so distracted by trying to win money that they end up being willing to translate anything. I tried adding harder sentences and just changed the teacher intro at the beginning. The students also loved having Satoshi/Ash be the example! Thank you so much for creating and sharing this. The game instruction slides are also really clear and effective!

    3. Shibby October 19, 2022

      A really wonderful game. My students loved it - thank you!

    4. ssamlal April 14, 2023

      I played this game with my kids to review the past tense. Throughout the activity, they kept saying how much fun they were having. Thank you for sharing this game!

    5. ChuffyMcBrumbles February 29, 2024

      My students loved this! They were literally screaming the answers they were so excited. The PowerPoint is so well explained, I think it's the first time I've played a game and had the students understand the rules perfectly on the first try! Thank you!

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