Q. What do you do with the gestures once you teach them?  I have done TPR for ages and we practiced actions/gestures for awhile every day, but now that we are full-time CI, I usually teach a sign/gesture at the beginning fo class and then… nothing much comes of it. 

I don’t want to drop it because I know it works, but my kids are all focused on oooooohhh and ay ay ay, and I don’t know if having them sign throughout a story will distract them or me.

What do you do?

A. By now here in November we all certainly must have a lot of gestures that have created a kind of “gesture bank”. Why not put to good use what you have in the bank? If a previously gestured word re-occurs in class, why not sign it?  It’s fun and it is another card in the discipline game.

I notice that when we sign things often, then if a certain kid doesn’t join in due to being spaced out, the class notices it, I notice it, there is a little pause, no words are said, but the kid knows they got caught spacing out. 

It is normally hard to get inside a kid’s mind to see what they are perceiving in class. However, if all of a sudden there is a cool physical motion that all the kids make simultaneously during the story (kids as kids love to move their bodies in class and it is FUN!), you can see who isn’t involved a lot easier.

This is part of my “peer pressure” proactive approach to discipline I will blog on later (too long to post here).

But you said it can distract. This is a good point. The thing I do to avoid that is to make it real fast.  Like we can gesture it without even stopping the story, just slowing slightly. It is kind of tricky because, if it is a verb, we not only have to gesture it, but then, since the stories are in the past, we have to throw a thumb back over a shoulder each time to show it is in the past. That thumb idea was discussed and presented by Joe and Carmen on this list some time back, and I find it very very cool, especially at this time of year when the kids are learning to differentiate clearly between present and past. Later they won’t need it.


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