Small Talk Crisscross

Do you want to engage your class and practice small talk? Use this version of crisscross for a great lesson starter.


Crisscross is a game as old as the hills but it really stands the test of time. This version has more options
than a basic crisscross, including a position change and doughnut (the students love this). I would recommed laminating the signs, or gluing them on thick card, before use.

As a lesson starter, get all students to stand up and respond to small talk questions (some suggested below). Hold and fan out the crisscross signs so the students cannot see what the instruction is. Select one student to respond to the small talk question. If they respond correctly, they can choose a number from 1-6 which will correspond with a random sign in your hand.

Then, reveal the chosen sign to the students. Students must follow the instruction of the sign:
- Row: students in a row (left-right) must sit down
- Line: Students in a line (font to back) must sit down
- Doughnut: all students immediately surrounding the answerer must sit down
- Half: the half of the classroom where the answerer is must sit down
- Switch positions: those who are sitting must stand, those who are standing must sit
- Lunch group: if your school has lunch groups, students in the same group as the answerer must sit down

Rinse and repeat, making sure to shuffle the cards each time to randomize the cards.

Suggestions for end of the game:
- Remaining student(s) can get a prize
- Remaining student(s) can ask the teacher a small talk question
- Or both of the above!

Potential Modifications:
- Instead of small talk questions, can also do crisscross by asking comprehension questions of a text, English words from Japanese words, repetition of key/new phrases.

See Word document for further details and suggested questions.

Submitted by nozomisuperexpress October 4, 2023 Estimated time: 5 minutes
  1. Celestar129 October 5, 2023

    Wow! I have never played it like this before! That's such a cool idea! I want to try that~

  2. tiredkiwi November 6, 2023

    Hi @Meenakshi Kumar!
    A way to prevent the students from associating one number with one action is to randomize every time.

    ie shuffle the cards in your hand, student says "4" so you pick the 4th card. For the next student, even if they say "4," if you've shuffled, they probably won't get the same card.

  3. nozomisuperexpress November 30, 2023

    That's a very good point @tiredkiwi that I forgot to include in the instructions. It's really essential for the activity. I've edited the instructions to reflect it. Thank you!

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