Michael Hominick


GRADE LEVEL: Elementary - all ages
SKILLS: Speaking, Conversation
TIME: 5-15 minutes per round
MATERIALS: None (usually)
OBJECTIVES: To allow the students a group activity for practicing sentence construction and conversation practice in a fun and competitive environment




1. This activity typically follows the studying of a new sentence form or dialog/conversation. After the students are ready to start practicing the new material, start the zombie game!


2. Everyone stands up, and is declared to be human. They are instructed to get into pairs after the game starts. Once in pairs, they must practice the dialog with one another, or repeat the sentences. Once this is done, they janken (or, if you've taught them rock/paper/scissors, go for that). The winner gets to keep living. The loser, well, it's truly unfortunate, but the loss caused them to turn into a zombie. They sit down and wait for the game to finish. This is the absolute basic form of the game; a large number of variations/additions are listed below; it's suggested that you use as many of these as possible to really make it enjoyable for the kids.




Why Zombies? - Kids love zombies. They love being called zombies, they love playing games where they are trying to avoid being a zombie. I have used it extensively in numerous activities, and I often return to a class the following week, only to have them ask me if any of the activities today have zombies in them.


Activity Length - this can be lengthened by requiring that the students lose twice/three times before they are transported to the zombie realm.


Selling the game - depending on the length of the activity, there are a number of things you can do to get the zombie concept focused in their minds. I like to pause the game from time to time, and ask who is still alive. This is usually quite evident from who is sitting and who is standing, but it gives me a great opportunity to refer to the zombies as 'zombie-tachi', or 'zombie-kumi', which they always get a kick out of. If the zombies are being too loud, kindly remind them that they are zombies, and zombies usually don't speak too much.


Tie in with other activities - this zombie element can be tied in to almost any other game/activity that has 'winners' and 'losers' in it. I highly suggest you give it a shot, and hint to the kids at the beginning of the class that they'll have a 'zombie game' later on - it should tie them into the study material, especially if you stress that the material needs to be learned in order to play the zombie game.