We kept working on reading this week, especially fluency and learning about punctuation. I modified an idea from my fellow teaching artist Melissa Kneeland who told me she used various motions to help students be expressive in their reading. Using motions to express different things is a cornerstone of conducting, so I modified her strategy for our classroom.
As a class, the students came up with various conducting gestures to represent the different types of punctuation they saw the poem "How Big is the Atlas Moth?"
As we read through the poem, we added our conducting gestures or "cues." (I honestly didn't see the word connection of Reading "Cues" and conducting "cues" until just now!
We had previously read the poem trying to stay with a beat and gain some speed. These gestures helped the students slow down and pay attention to the ends of sentences, italics, and other punctuation. I saw at least one student continue to read in her own time with these gestures. It goes to show that you never know what is going to reach a kid or make a difference. These gestures might not help all the students, but I can see at least one it made a real difference for! That makes it worth it.
Dr. Erika Svanoe
Teaching Artist for Arts Integration Menomonie.