By Kevin Fabris

January 1, 2015

5 - 10 Minutes, Adult, EFL, ESL, Fun, High School, Ice Breaker, No Materials Required, Warm Up, Word Game, Young Learner

Shiritori is a classic ESL game.  You might know Shirotori as a word chain. It’s a fun and easy way to practice spelling and vocabulary in your ESL / EFL classroom. 

Shiritori can work with big or small class sizes and with students from 10 years old to 100.  It requires no set-up and no materials.  If you happen to be teaching in Japan you simply have to say the word “Shiritori” and everyone will know what your doing.

How to:

  1. Pick a topic.  The video uses animals.
  2. Say the name of an animal. E.g. PandA.
  3. The person sitting beside you then has to say the name of an animal whose name starts with A.  A is the first link in the chain.
  4. If the second person says AlligatoR.  The third person in the word chain will have to link to the letter R.
  5. Once you’ve done the activity once or twice as a full class it’s really easy to break your class into smaller groups and continue the activity.
  6. You can add excitement in a lot of different way: by adding a timer, keeping score of how many words the groups can think of, changing topics, etc.


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