Gesturing Jellyfish

Actions speak louder than words.

If you teach young learners, adopt this as one of your favorite mottos.

Devon is all about gestures, and his students clearly pick up on new material quickly if there are useful gestures to help them along.

The other day, I worked with some of Devon’s students, and the lesson was a much-needed reminder for me.

All the new vocabulary we were learning had matching gestures. During one activity, I called out a word we’d been studying and then looked expectantly at the students.

They looked back equally expectantly, but they did not move.

I called out another word, thinking this was maybe a brief lapse in word recall.

No response.

But then I noticed they were watching and waiting for something to happen.



No gesture, no response.

The moment I flapped around – okay, shimmied around – like a jellyfish, they shouted out jellyfish! and went galloping around the room to find the matching flash card.



P.S. Remember this American Sign Language site? I just looked up the appropriate sign for jellyfish. I’m going to teach everyone I know the appropriate sign for turtle, though. Meep!

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