Following directions activities are a way to build critical skills in impulse control, and this activity is a Zoo U twist on the classic game Simon Says. Students will follow “Principal Wild’s” instructions to make different movements with their body, such as hopping on one foot or hands on their head, only moving when the instruction is preceded by “Principal Wild says…” To challenge their Impulse Control Skills, a few students will act as distractors, trying to engage students in conversation while the instructions are happening. Students will need to focus intently on Principal Wild’s instructions and ignore the distractions to know when and when not to move.
The pre-activity discussion will begin by talking with the group about the importance of taking responsibility for your own actions and being in control of their own behavior. Sometimes it feels like we don’t have any control. Someone was making fun of me so I had to say something mean. My classmate was talking so I couldn’t do my work. Mr friend dared me to steal something off the teacher’s desk. He made me do it.
Discussion questions will include:
- Have you ever missed something important in class, like directions, because a classmate was talking to you? If someone is talking to you or distracting you in some other way, and you miss something, is it your fault or theirs?
- Do you think you’ve ever been a “distractor” during class? How do you think the other students felt when you were talking while the teacher was talking?
Following directions activities like Principal Wild Says help students resist distractions to focus on and follow specific instructions.
Being able to concentrate in class and follow directions in many situations is a team effort. Everyone in the class needs to help contribute to the learning environment by both working hard to pay attention and follow directions and by not being a distractor to classmates.
Even if someone is purposely trying to distract you or make you break the rules, your behavior and how you respond is always your choice. A classmate can make it difficult, but they can’t force you to not pay attention or not follow directions.
One of the main things we have control over is how we behave. We can’t control how other people are acting, what they say, or often what they think about us. But we can control how we react to others’ behavior, how we respond to what others say, and how we let others influence our feelings.