"Teacher Says" is a fun ESL activity for warming up children that works well with really young children.


Create a list of commands like:

  • Touch your eyes
  • Touch your ears, or nose, or toes, or hair, or chin, etc.
  • Sit down
  • Jump
  • Wave "hi"
  • etc.

How to do it:

  1. Have your students stand up
  2. Say "Teacher says _____ (command)" or "_____ (command)"
  3. If you say "Teacher says" then they do it
  4. If you don't say "Teacher says" then they don't do it
  5. If they do it then make them sit down
  6. Continue until only one person is standing

You can give that person a plus one or a star. This will work well for very young learners, from about kindergarten to 3rd or 4th grade. Once your students cease to make errors then you can stop this game, as their level is probably too advanced for this.

Or it could mean that you are too slow and predictable. 

Another twist on this activity is that instead of saying "teacher says" you could just say "touch your nose" and then try to trick them by doing something different from what you are saying (actually touching your leg).

About the video

This video was filmed in a kindergarten in Busan, Korea

lazy teacher's guide to TEFL

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#3 Andrew Rogers 2017-03-12
I use this game really effectively for all ages. It is possibly the most popular one we play. You can include speaking (Simon says complement your teacher) or difficult words to hear (shin and chin) or more advanced actions (carry Helium balloons). I also use it for teaching vocation specific vocabulary (Crimp a cable, patch a lead, strip a wire). On all of those examples I also explained how the verbs get used in other contexts. And of course make them listen carefully not look by saying one thing and doing the other.
#2 Ghizlane 2017-03-10
it is benificial i will use it with my first two students today i am so excieted.
thank you.
#1 Oussama 2013-06-15
i think it's a good lesson

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