Zoom Lesson: Simon Says…

I cannot possibly imagine a class or a teacher who have never tried the classic game of Simon Says… I have tried it with all the levels and ages I taught and with certain adjustments, Simon Says… always worked out well. Excellent, to be precise! Simon Says… could be played at any point in the lesson although most teachers prefer playing the game at the beginning as an attention grabber or a warm up or in the end of the lesson as a wrap up activity. I have tried it at every stage, very often to ‘wake up’ my sleepy students.

The question is, could Simon Says… be played in an online lesson? Yes, it definitely could and totally should be played in an online lesson! You can play it on any platform with any group of students although the more the merrier applies. The prerequisite is to have video and audio communication with your group. Just like in the real classroom, you ought to bring some energy to your online lesson and create the environment where you can easily move. Prepare your students as well. Have them unplug their wired headphones and listen to you from their device’s speaker, tell them to put their device somewhere stable and where they can see it, and remind them to remove any obstacles that may hurt them while moving. All of this highly depends on the list of instructions you prepared for them.

The cue cards I prepared in case my students cannot hear me or their internet connection goes off.

The great thing is, you can use any instructions you have used before, like touch your nose, turn around, stand on one foot, rub your tummy, open your book, etc. As you know, the options are endless. If you have student with hearing or visual impairment, you can either make cards with intructions or speak slower and louder. If your students have limited movement abilities, make sure to adjust the activities so they can participate. Although students love to run around and do the things quickly, you can and in this case should give them more time to complete the instruction.

As I have already mentioned, the instructions along with the energy you bring to your online lesson are crucial for the activity. I created this list of instructions I use specifically on Zoom. My students loved them!

Make sure to remind your students that different devices may have different options and that some of them may not work on everyone’s phone, iPad or a computer. Some of my students couldn’t change their virtual background but I made sure to ask them about their real background. I gave them the option to move their cameras and change the background in their room. Some of them took me to the kitchen! I had a student today whose entire wall was covered in Spiderman wallpaper and I asked him about it.

Also make sure to turn on the annotations for the instruction with the whiteboard. Do not worry if the things seem to go a bit out of hand when they start scribbling on the board. Remember, you are giving them the gist of all the fun they can have if they behave and work hard in other lessons. Let them vent!

Simon Says… in an online lesson will give you a chance to practice active listening, speaking, and movement. It gave my students liberty to play with their Zoom options since they are otherwise expected not to change their names, background or microphone settings. Oh, what fun it was to see them go bananas about their nicknames and photos!

After or during every instruction we either laughed because some of them were too quick to do the action or we talked about their choices.

There are many variations to this game and you can adapt it however you want. Do not be afraid to explore. Also, have them shout a bit, their neighbors will not appreciate it but your students will!

What other games have you adapted to your online lesson and how well did it go? Write to me on

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