I shared this game on my blog many years ago, and I’m posting it an updated version today since it is so buried in the archives.

“Thief” is a game that I first learned about from Michele Whaley, who read about it in a post by Jeremy Jordan on the MoreTPRS listserv. I have historically used it as a P.A.T. game and when targeting physical descriptions and direct object pronouns.

Click here to download print-ready instructions for this game.


  1. One student (“The Victim”) leaves the classroom and goes into the hall.
  2. Another student (“The Thief”) steals something that belongs to The Victim and holds onto it. The Thief can sit on it, put it in his/her binder, etc.
  3. The Victim returns to the classroom and determines what was stolen. To do this, The Victim can use one of several questions or statements, based on the language structures that the teacher wants to practice, such as “I don’t have…”, “Where is my…?”, “Someone stole my….!”, or “My …. is missing!” The teacher should use the same language structure to coach the student by asking questions to The Victim and narrating the findings to the class. For example, “Do you have your pencil?” “Class, [Victim] has his/her … pencil!” “You have your pencil, but do you have your flute?”. In this way, the teacher provides necessary vocabulary to the student that s/he might not already know, and the teacher provides the class with many repetitions of the target structure with Comprehensible Input.
  4. Once The Victim has determined what was stolen, s/he must identify The Thief. The Victim does this by asking yes/no physical description questions, like “Is it a boy or girl?” “Is s/he tall?” “Is s/he wearing a blue shirt?” You may choose to give a ‘cheat sheet’ (example included) to The Victim to help him or her come up with questions.  As always, circle and personalize the questions, and check for comprehension throughout the activity. If you are unfamiliar with the circling or personalization strategy, please visit this link.
  5. Someone in the class should tally the number of yes/no questions that it takes The Victim to identify The Thief. If you play several rounds, the winner is The Victim that identifies The Thief with the fewest yes/no questions.


10 replies on “Thief! A game to practice physical descriptions and direct object pronouns

  1. Perfect timing – I’m using this activity this week to introduce past tense of ROBAR, which will then lead us into Sr. Wooly’s “El Banco” song. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Martina! You’ve done it again! This game will be perfect to help my classes acquire the vocabulary for Blaine Ray’s “El Libro Perdido” which we will be getting into full force this upcoming week. Muchisimas gracias!

  3. It’s funny! I didn’t even realize you had posted this and attributed it to me. Haha.

    And I remember that I made it up on the fly because a lesson didn’t go well. Now, I get to see it written after having forgotten about it only to use it tomorrow in class! 😉 Thanks, Martina.

  4. Hi, I am just getting into teaching novels and found your comment on the Comprehensible Input website. You mentioned Blaine Rays “El Libro Perdido” is this an older book? I cannot find it anywhere. Thanks

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