Robots, Cakes & Cops & Robbers: Getting kids’ attention in class

One thing I’m trying to get teachers to do more is to make the initial vocab introduction a bit more fun.  “Repeat after me” with a list of vocab is really boring!

But doing a story or getting the kids’ opinions can make all the difference in making them lean forward and be interested or leaning back and tuning out!


Simple examples can be asking the kids “What do you think my favourite subject is?” for subjects.  If they shout out one that is in the song, you teach it there and then.  Then tell them you have another favourite subject and ask them to guess what that is. Keep going till all the vocab is taught.  The kids stay fixated to the end, especially when there is only one more to guess!

Or for the Eat, Drink, Dance theme, you can make up stories like ….

Oooo look, I’ve just bought a new robot (one of the students).  What do you think we can make him do?  (Kids shout out stuff).  Ahhh.. but he only understands English instructions!   Ask the kids again what instructions they’d like to give & teach the ones that come up from the song.  Just say “ah, I don’t think he can do that!” for the others.  Again the kids love it when there’s only one more command left and they have to guess it!


It makes it a lot more fun when there’s a “why” to the learning.   Another great idea for the Eat, Drink, Dance theme, which the teachers came up with on Saturday, my birthday, was to say “Oooo, it’s Richard’s birthday today! We’re all going to his party tonight!  What will we do at the party?” and you then introduce the vocab when they kids shout it out and proceed with the lesson plan.

Cops & Robbers

You can also use it for a lot of the songs.  e.g. asking a superhero “Where are you going?”  in the Where are you going? lesson. Or in the “What are you doing?” song get the kids to pretend to be cops and robbers who get annoyed with them.  It’s hilarious and really livens up the chorus of a song – check out the video!

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!

10 Responses to “Robots, Cakes & Cops & Robbers: Getting kids’ attention in class”

  1. Dominique (French Alps)

    Cool ! I will try it tonight. We didn’t know what gestures to use during the chorus, that’s perfect and fun. The kids will love to reprimand each other.

  2. Nena

    I was planning on doing the “what are you doing” lesson on Friday!
    I will certainly use the cops and robbers idea! Thanks…great work like always Richard!
    Have a nice day!

  3. Gumby

    What are you doing? cops and robbers. BRILLIANT!

  4. Jocely Kikuchi

    Hi Richard,
    Belated ” Happy Birthday” to you, there’s a saying ” better late than Never. The complete personology reference guide book says:
    Feb. 12 you are intelligent, creative, and able to mix with people from all walks of life.

    By the way thank you for the fascinating games. I’ll try that tomorrow.

  5. Melissa

    I’ll try the robots!! I’m sure it’s going to be lots of fun for them!

  6. Lyubov

    I didn’t get the point of Robots game. Is it a kind of guessing game or students are supposed to tell that robot what to do?

  7. Richard Graham

    Hi Lyubov,

    It’s not a game, you’re just setting up a story and hence characters for the kids to play which then makes it more fun to practice the target sentences!

  8. Lyubov

    OK. I see now, thank you

  9. Elena

    I have a question about guessing (Robot game). You are supposed to teach new vocab so how students would know these new words and guess them before the input?

Comments are closed