This post is part of a series CI: Power Moves. As a teacher in Denver Public Schools and Colorado, I have had the privilege of learning from effective and generous CI instructors. Visit the previous posts here:
1. CI Power Moves: Doorway
2. CI Power Moves: How ARE you?
(I post this slide before we do this activity. I refer to it. Later I have students explain WHY we do gestures.)
Why should we do gestures?
1. It is a behavior anchor. Once you establish a clear routine, students will know exactly what is expected. It resets their listening brains.
2. It provides scaffolding. You are priming your students’ brains for more listening later.
3. It is a comprehension check. They are able to show you they understand without speaking or writing.
4. Muscle Memory! This works for kinesthetic learners and almost all other learners. Physical response creates deeper memories because it activates more parts of the brain.
5. It provides repetition (not in context, but still, they are hearing the word spoken, as they see it on the board.) You can also continually review old vocabulary using gestures.
How do I effectively do gestures?
1. Before class, decide if you want a student to create the gesture, you want to create the gesture, or you want to use the American Sign Language. I usually type “asl (insert vocab word)” in Google. I like to use lifeprint.com because they usually have gifs that I can drag and drop into my slide.
2. Quickly explain to class WHY we do gestures. “I want to see everyone doing the gestures because it helps me see who understands and physical movements are scientifically proven to help you remember something faster.”
3. Introduce the word. Show the word on the board in (Spanish) and English. Say “tiene” means “has.”
4. Show the gesture. Say: this is the gesture for “has.”
5. Teach the word “Show me!” (montre-moi or muéstrame/enseñame). Say “muéstrame tiene.” You do the gesture and they do the gesture.
6. Be seen looking. Obtrusively watch all students do the gesture. Say “I am looking for 100% of the class doing the action.”
7. Expect that 100% of students do the gesture. If they are not, walk closer to them. If they still are not doing the gesture, quietly say “muéstrame tiene (show me tiene).” If they still do not do the gesture, re-teach them WHY gestures are important.
8. Repeat the same process with 2-4 more words. Then, say them out of order. Say them faster. PRAISE THEM!
9. Check in! Make sure students are connecting the word to the actual meaning. “¿Cómo se dice “tiene” en inglés? (How do you say “tiene” in English?) Give them a 3, 2, 1, countdown and then listen for all students saying “has!” Praise them!
10. Do this for 3 minutes every day.
CRANK IT UP:
When they are ready, give them some challenges.
- Teacher delays gesture until most students do gesture. Teacher then shows gesture.
- Split the class in half and have a contest. Who can do the gestures better/faster/all together? Give a small prize to the winning team. (I always end up giving it to both teams because they all do a great job.)
- “Choose your challenge” Say “If you are ready for a challenge, close your eyes. Muéstrame tiene, le gusta, come.” You can gauge if your students are ready by seeing how many felt comfortable closing their eyes.
- Let me trick you! Teacher calls out the word but does the WRONG gesture. Continue mixing up words and gestures. Get close to the kids and playfully show them that you are really trying to trick them. Then, laugh at them (if you have a good relationship) when they mess up. Make messing up a fun thing.
- Incorporate last week’s words. Continue recycling old words throughout the year.
- Play Simón dice/Simon says.