245I need to know how to give simple commands to students concerning their lessons, Examples:  Color the ….. Sit down . . . Stand . . . .  Other instructional cues...


MODELING is one of the most effective teaching techniques to help students understand, and later on perform on verbal command, the instructions we give during our lessons.  

For example, you could DEMONSTRATE what “Color the circle in blue” means by actually posting the colorless geometric figures so students can see them and then coloring the circle with a blue crayon or marker as you say: “Color the circle in blue.”   As you give the command, you may wish to emphasize the key words: 

“Color the circle (pass your finger over the circumference of the circle)

in blue (point to the blue crayon or marker you are holding),”

Once you give these instructions two or three times, you may wish to expand on them: 

“Color the circle (pointing to the circle) in blue (pointing to the blue crayon or marker).  Do NOT color the (name the other geometric figures on the display).   Only color the circle in blue (pointing to the circle and your blue marker.”

You can further expand your instructions, and then question students about what they are to do:

            “Color the circle in blue (no pointing).  Now raise your hand if I am pointing

to the circle (point to the other geometric figures and then to the circle.)

            Is this a circle?  (call on student.  If student cannot answer correctly, rephrase the question:)

This is a circle, right? (call on another student.   If this student answers

correctly, then ask:)  How many of you say this is a circle?  (Wait for students to reply:) Yes!  I also say this is a circle. (Continue asking questions)

(Pointing to the circle:) Is this a triangle, a square or a circle?

Is this a rectangle, a square, a circle or a triangle?

(Call on the student who could NOT answer correctly:)

Is this a circle?   (For English Learners in your group, you may wish to accept NODDING in agreement –or shaking their heads in disagreement—as the answer to your question.) What is this?”

 Follow a similar line of questions for the color “blue.” (Holding the blue marker or crayon ask:)

“I am going to color the circle in blue, yes? (Point to blue marker)

Am I going to color the circle in red or blue?  (You may wish to hold up these two color markers or crayons as you ask the question)

Are you going to color your circle in green, yellow, blue or red? (You may wish to hold up color crayons as you name the colors)

What color do I use to color the circle?”  (For English Learners in your group, you may wish to accept POINTING to the right color as the answer to your question)

You may have an English speaker demonstrate what needs to be done.   HOWEVER, please, remember that the MOST IMPORTANT concept being taught through this activity is VOCABULARY DEVELOPMENT.   Thus, while the English speaker who can understand your instructions perform the activity, you need to VERBALLY model the instructions and then ASK questions of students so you get evidence that the instructions are understood by all and can be verbalized by all students.  For example:

             “Now, class, listen:  Color the circle in blue.  Look at Jaime:

Jaime is coloring the circle in blue, right?

            What is Jaime doing? Coloring the circle in green or coloring the circle in blue? 

Is he coloring the square in blue or coloring the circle in blue?

            Is Jaime coloring the triangle in yellow, or is he coloring the circle in blue?

            Is Jaime coloring the circle in blue, the triangle in green or the square in yellow?  

What is Jaime doing?  

What are you going to do? 

You are going to color the circle in blue, right (point to the circle and the blue marker)

Are you going to color the triangle in purple or the circle in blue?

Are you going to color the circle in blue or the rectangle in red?

What are you going to do?  (Call on a student, or an English Learner)

Now, recently, I had to do a lesson demonstration in which I needed to show lots of pictures about the cardiovascular system for students to understand the flow of blood through arteries, veins, capillaries and the heart.   As I usually do, I visited the school library to get as many resources on my topic as they had in the library.   Indeed, they had wonderful pictures and . . . they had an extraordinary piece of equipment that facilitated my lesson demonstration immensely:  A desk-top presenter.  This useful device consists of a video camera mounted on a tripod and focused on any material laying on the desk directly under the video camera focus.   The desk-top presenter saves teachers the trouble of making transparencies to show on the overhead projector or individual copies for each student.   The image can be projected on a television monitor (as was the case when I used it) or on a screen through an accompanying projector. 

In the upper-grades, this device can help immensely as teachers present VOCABULARY and give INSTRUCTIONS on how students are to do some task or perform some activity.   Art teachers, science teachers, social studies teachers and ALL TEACHERS can truly enrich their lessons with this device which help them SHOW and DEMONSTRATE for students while providing ORAL MODELS and VOCABULARY. 



For more in-depth information, classroom demonstrations, and "coaching" of new and/or experienced teachers, Dr. CARMEN SANCHEZ SADEK offers:

1. Cognitive - Academic Language and Vocabulary Development
2. Cross Cultural Diversity - Multicultural Strategies
3. Effective Instruction for English Learners (L.E.P. students) Parts 1, 2, 3, 4
4. Promoting Academic Success in Language Minority Students
5. Cognitive - Academic Language and Vocabulary Development
6. Oral Language / Literacy Skills / Higher Order Thinking Skills
7. 50/50 Dual Language Programs: design, planning and implementation
8. The Structure of English / The Structure of Spanish
9. Transition: Introduction to English Reading

Web Site Programs for Teachers: Numbers 1, 5, 7, 8, and 9.
Web Site Programs for
Paraprofessionals: Number 3.
Web Site Programs for
New Teachers:
Enhanced Cultural Sensitivity - The Challenge of Students Diversity
Identifying / Responding to Students' Language Needs
Phonemic Awareness: Teaching English phonics to L.E.P. students
Relationship Between Reading, Writing and Spelling
Improving Reading Performance -- Building Oral Language Skills)

Write and e-mail any additional questions you may have, and Dr. CARMEN SANCHEZ SADEK will establish with you, your school or district a Technical Assistance Service Contract. Dr. CARMEN SANCHEZ SADEK will answer all your questions promptly and to your satisfaction.


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