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Commands Practice

by Sara Toledo | 23 Aug 2017
Resource Description: An authentic activity for practicing writing and following commands.
Audience: Secondary
Audience Language Proficiency: Intermediate
Duration: Two class periods of 50 minute duration
Materials and Technology:
  • Allow students access to any notes taken about how to write commands, per teacher discretion.
  • One notecard
  • Pencil or pen
  • Students will be able to write commands pertaining to directions in English.
  • Students will be able to read and follow written directions.
  • Students will be able to maneuver through their school.
  • Students will be able to orient themselves to their educational building.
  • Students will be able to understand written directions using English commands.
  • Students will be able to compose written commands for others to follow.
Activity Description:

Before doing this activity, it is recommended the ESL teacher notify administrators and receive permission for the class to be out of the room.  It would also be courteous to advise fellow teachers they may hear students out in the hall at an unexpected time.

This is an activity used to apply the learning of English commands following instruction and practice in the classroom.


  • Have students form partners or groups of three and give each group one note card.
  • Discuss some of the places in the school they think every student needs to be able to get to in order to be a successful student.  For example, the Library, the main office, the cafeteria, the gym, the bathroom, etc.
  • Instruct students that they will be choosing an important location in the school.  Using the ELL classroom as a starting point, the group must write written directions from the classroom to the destination.  The location must include at least four commands, but no more than 8.  To assess if they wrote their commands clearly and accurately, the teacher will not know the final location.  Tell them the teacher will walk to each location with the class the following day to see if they can understand the commands.
  • As a class, agree on some restrictions for the locations.  For example, you can choose a classroom, but do not write a command to enter the classroom as that would be rude to the teacher inside teaching a class.  If applicable, do or do not allow for students to go outside or leave school property.  Do not instruct boys to enter girls restrooms or vice versa.
  • Day 1:  Have each group choose a destination and write commands to get there without telling the teacher.  If time, have another group practice the commands to check for errors.
  • Day 2:  Have another group try the directions if there was not time the day before.  The teacher will collect the note cards with the directions.  As a class, follow the directions on the card to see if the students successfully lead the teacher to their destination.  When teacher arrives at end of the commands on card, check with group that wrote the card as well as the group who tried it if this was indeed the final destination.
  • If this activity is done for a grade, the teacher can assess the correct formation of the commands, spelling of the directions in grammar, a pass/fail grade if the directions were written with a successful result, or a combination of all of these.
References: Vargas Bonilla, A.  (2009).  Aventura 2.  St. Paul, MN:  EMC.
TESOL Interest Section: Secondary Schools