Thursday, January 15, 2009

Hand Pointer Point of View

Remember when you were a kid and someone pointed at you? That gesture was always followed by doom. The "point" of pointing is to draw attention to something without saying a word, but that attention doesn't have to be bad. Actually, we know from classroom management research that many negative student behaviors can be quickly halted by using...HUMOR!

So, how do you make a one-finger gesture a positive (and effective) thing? A cartoon pointing hand on a stick! Some of my all-time favorite Learning Resources products are our Hand Pointers:

Yes, somewhere in Cartoonland there are thousands of characters sporting only stumps, but their amputational contributions will never be forgotten. Thanks, guys, for lending a hand! ;) (Oops, I guess humor can also be a bad thing too.)

I love the Hand Pointer because it's simple, versatile (value), and has personality. I consider myself somewhat creative. I've made my fair share of bulletin board decor, cardboard flashcards, and mini reading rooms made of giant refrigerator boxes. But, there's no way I can make a pointer this darn cute!

If I were back in the classroom, here's what I'd be doing with my cutie-patootie Hand Pointers:

1. Good point! Point at a kid who's doing something good for a change. Look for positive behaviors and literally "point" them out as great examples of how your whole class should act.

2. Give one to a kid who gets to play teacher during an activity with peers.

3. Whip them out unexpectedly to use while presenting at professional development workshops or staff meetings. I've had great success (and a lot of fun) with this.

4. If you're lucky enough to have an interactive whiteboard in your classroom, the Hand Pointers work great on them!

5. Assessment in any subject--point out things and ask students questions about them (obvious, I know). This can be pointing to parts of a cross-section to quiz kids on science terms, pointing to objects in the room to see if ELLs are building everyday vocabulary, pointing to states/countries on a map, etc.

6. Fluency--to help readers with their pace, use the pointer to follow the words as your students chant them.

7. Phonics, alphabet awareness, and phonological awareness--highlight letters or parts of written words in pocket charts or on the board. Tap a desk/table to count out syllables in a spoken word. Here's how one teacher does this:

8. Vocabulary--point to words IN CONTEXT in big books or on the board. Then, talk about meanings.

9. Counting--sometimes auditory learners need to hear numbers. Tap out their values or have students tap the rhythm as they count (or skip count!) up or down.

10. Patterns--tap them out on a desk/table. There are all kinds of patterns in the world. Some are auditory, AKA "music". ;)

Yes, many of these things you can also do with your own finger or a dowel rod (note: splinter & termite risks), but that's no fun!

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for so many great "pointers"! What great ideas you have...