My Best Game This Year: I have …. to …. + New Discipline Technique!

This has been one of my best games this year, a great hit with all ages.

We’re going to use the How many days till Christmas? vocab but with a little twist.

So make sure the kids know the song (it’s free on Youtube) then …

1. Give everyone one “How many days till Christmas?” mini card.

2. Everyone hides their own card by placing it against their chest so no one else can see.

Ninja Tip:  This is most important part of the game!

3. Everyone shouts out “I have ….. to …. ” using the language on the card e.g. “I have letters to write.” or “I have reindeer to feed.”

4. If they find someone who has to do the same thing as they do, they link up arms.  Remember they can only speak in English  – in the full sentence – and can’t show anyone their card.  They’re out if they do!

5. They keep going until they have found everyone who has to do the same thing that they do!


Ninja Tip 2:  Last year we figured this might be quite a tough sentence but … we’ve been amazed at how even this smallest kids have been able to understand and use the sentences due to the “chunking” of grouping the words together.   P.S.  It also helps if you’ve done regular How many? and Christmas vocab lessons first. 

This is a great game for making groups class and is also fantastic for Christmas parties if you have to split people into groups to prepare things – watch the parents be amazed.

If you keep the number of cards secret then they keep on saying (i.e. practicing) the sentences for ages as they don’t know how many cards there are for each activity.

Quick Discipline Technique

One of the things I try and do in my workshops is to try and include as many of the discipline techniques as possible.

This one in the video above I don’t think I’ve introduced on the blog before,  but it is a real time saver.

(If you’re on email and can’t see the video, click here.)

1.  Train the kids so that when the teacher (you) puts one hand in the air, everyone has to be quiet and put their hand in the air too!

2.  If anyone sees anyone else without their hand raised they have to tap them on the shoulder.

3.  Watch it spread like a virus through the class making everyone quiet straight away.

Again, like with any of the discipline techniques, you’ve got to set out the expectations and train the kids to do it quickly.  As you can see I’d been timing them and making it into a game to see how fast they could do it!

If you can get the “getting quiet” time down from 30 seconds to just 2 seconds that saves you a *lot* of time over the year.   Plus you don’t have to shout, raise your voice or even speak – it’s all silent. 🙂

Anyway do try the game and let us know what you think in the comments!

Be genki,


P.S.   Over the last few months I’ve been sneaking a demo version of this song into the Teacher’s Set  (and for long term VIPs too.)

Would you like me to work on adding the talking “words” and computer game to the software too?    Let me know in the comments and if enough of you would like it I’ll see what I can do!


P.P.S.  You can find all of my Christmas lessons here.

Richard Graham

Hello, I'm Richard Graham. When I was a kid I found school to be sooooo boring... So I transformed my way of teaching. I listened to what the kids were really wanting to say and taught it in ways they really wanted to learn. The results were magical. Now I help teachers just like you teach amazing lessons and double your incomes!

4 Responses to “My Best Game This Year: I have …. to …. + New Discipline Technique!”

  1. Martin

    I was wondering about this song. Wondering if it has been completed. Yes! Talking words, game…Really wonder if there are any other games that can work (the best is of course the one where they listen and click on the correct picture). Looking forward to a complete version!

  2. Margit

    may I suggest another activity for smaller groups?

    I gave each kid a small paper with a number, I chose all 3s
    3, 30, 330, 3333 etc (what ever you want to practice)

    Then I walked my finger around the images until a kid said stop, and everyone would have to ask
    “How many…+ the image)
    The kids who said “stop” has to answer “333 chimneys to climb2 or “I have ,…to climb.”

    They really enjoyed to practice numbers this way.

  3. gumby

    Margit, can you explain how to play this game? Is it game to make groups like the example above? If so, do students find the others with the same number?
    How do you choose which students says, ‘stop’?

    Sorry for all the questions.

  4. Margit

    No, this is for smaller classes, where you can’t run around being noisy and making groups. So, my class was 8 kids.

    And it is just the fun of saying and imagining crazy numbers, so far (I think I might find a twist to make it more into a game)

    First time I walked the finger until one said stop, I asked:

    How many chimneys to climb
    the student opened the number and said
    I have 3330 chimneys to climb.

    Then this student walked the finger and the next student said stop, and so on.

    Richard’s game is GREAT for bigger groups or classes, and I’ve been playing it with all kind of topics, so if your classes are big don’t waste time on my idea, but I know there are many private schools around, so in this case, the group building game doesn’t work~

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