Pen up the nose

This trick is horror, a slippery slope. If you let them do this, never expect them to behave: D:D

There is this one particular student of mine who is 9 now, a very active, energetic and clever boy who is quite on the bossy side, with a clear view of what he wants most of the time. This is just  to say he’s not the type of student who will wait for your instructions, does the exercises and harvests the teacher’s welldones. And he loves acting, loves magic tricks, loves the internet.

He arrived at the lesson with the determination to learn a new trick, I’d prepared one that he found uncool, so he started looking for better tricks on YouTube. After having seen a couple of tutorial videos (with me reassuring myself with the mantra “this is no waste of time, this is authentic listening”).
Finally he ended up with a tutorial in which someone makes a pen disappear-in his nose. Lovely. Definitely no. This is too dangerous, one might hurt themselves, nose bleeding, what is his little brother really wants to push the pen up his nose? (Once he swallowed a balloon!!)

He convinced me, giving me the chance to discuss the possible harm caused by practicing and performing the trick, we agreed on a pen that has no sharp point and he promised he’d reveal the trick to his brother and watch out for him.

Age: the older, the better, the trick itself can cause injuries (10+)
Level: A2+
Group size: one-to-one or very small groups (2-3) to allow you to carefully conduct the trick
Language: how to describe an object you like
Skills: speaking, a little reading and writing
Step 0
Ask your student(s) about favorite objects.

What’s your favorite / Do you have a favorite …
thing in your schoolbag
piece of clothes
piece of jewellery ?

Then ask them yes/no questions and list their answers (YESes and Nos).

Is it big?
Is it bigger/smaller than a grizzly bear?
Is it in one colour?
Does it have yellow?
Does it smell good?
Is it soft/hard?
Is it fluffy/shiny/furry/matte, …?
Do you use it a lot?

(Sometimes you’ll have to explain your questions, hmmm…)

Based on the list of YESes and nos ask them to reconstruct the information.

e.g. 1 yes, 2 no –> It’s big, but smaller than a grizzly bear.

(You can write this or make a voice recording.)

Step 1
Perform the trick

(Learn it from here.)

Tell them about your favorite pen and do the trick.

See the reaction, wait till they recover.

Repeat it as many times as it’s exciting. Ask them to guess how you’ve done it.

Step 2

Tell them you’ll reveal the trick if they complete a mission. The mission is to put the parts of story/text in the correct order ( or put the missing words back into the text (cloze makers,,, perhaps segment the text that you give them without spaces. (

Here is an example text to use with this trick:
Ladies and gentleman, let me show you my favourite pen. It is long and thin, it has a lovely colour, and you can write with it like this, or you  can draw something. As i said, i love it. I even love the smell of it. Hey! Where is it? Is it in my nose? Is it in my head? No, it isn’t. It’s in my hand.


First published here: Pen up the nose