In our journey to stay in target language and start to use more phrases, my students and I have stumbled onto a target-language activity we use to transition from one activity to the next. I share it with you here, and as I knew I couldn’t just put it into words, my kids graciously demonstrated for you as well. They find it fun (as you may or may not see in the videos!) and it keeps very high-frequency speaking targets continual in our classroom.
Here is the list of the gestures with the “I…” verbs and optional endings:
- Gesture both hands from side of head straight down: I am (identity / characteristics).
- Gesture open hands on either side of face: I am (feeling).
- Snap hands closed close to chest: I have (something).
- One hand on chest, other hand outstretched up: I want (something / to do some activity).
We are also about to add:
- Show muscles: I can (activity).
Other options you could add:
- Thumbs up: I like (thing, activity).
- Gesture with hands straight ahead: I’m going to (place, do activity).
When we’re moving from one activity to the next or whenever I see their eyes start to glass over, I pull a popsicle stick from a cup full of sticks with their names on them, gesture to that student to stand, and quickly do the gestures myself with just the beginning words: “Soy, estoy, tengo, quiero.”
Ready to see my kids demonstrate? (NOTE: These videos are unlisted. Please do not share privately or embed in any location, but feel free to direct teachers to this blog post. Thanks to the parents and kids who gave me permission to show you our activity this way.)
Here is an unedited version of one student doing the whole sequence. It’s hard to hear what she says at the end, but you’ll notice she “accidentally” uses quiere and then the word she says is libro.
Some logistics info: The younger students you see have class 60 minutes once a week. The older ones have class 90 minutes once a week. All have enrichment activities I post on Edmodo that they may or may not complete (we do not grade “assignments”). The little blonde with the turquoise socks is mine and she’s bilingual at about an Intermediate Low proficiency, if I had to guess, so she doesn’t count, LOL. All the rest began this program in August with no measurable proficiency.