Thursday, July 18, 2013

Book Club - Chapter 12 Mirror, Hands and Eyes

To start at the beginning of this book club with me:
I'm back with my thoughts on two more WBT techniques: Mirror & Hands and Eyes.

Mirror is when you want students to mimic your gestures or to even repeat after you.  The teacher says "Mirror".  The students respond with "Mirror" and start to mirror the teacher's motions.  There are three main types of gestures that you can use while teaching:
  • Casual - the hands motions that you would normal use while talking
  • Graphic - motions that match what you are saying.  The gestures for the rules are graphic {Say "Raise your hand.." while raising your hand.}
  • Memory - these are gestures to help you remember a fact, concept, or standard.  When learning about the water cycle, you might sprinkle your fingers down like rain to remember the term "precipitation".  
 And as always, exaggerate your gestures, be silly, and have fun!

Some variations:
Mirror Words - This is like when the wedding officiate has the bride and groom repeat after him.  He uses short phrases and waits for the responder to finish before moving on.  We use this when you really want students to remember something (like the definition of an important vocab word or a daily I Can statement that you want students to remember).  When students repeat your words and mimic your gestures, they are using five areas of the brain: seeing, saying, hearing, doing, and feeling!  When this kind of quadruple learning happens, WBT calls it Teacher Heaven!  We want to get to this state as much as possible!

Hands and Eyes is when you want students to pay super close attention to what you are saying.  The teacher says "Hands and Eyes" and the students repeat the teacher and will fold their hands and put their eyes on you.  Make sure to note that you do not give your students a point on the Scoreboard for every time they successfully do Hands and Eyes.  The teacher is in charge of points and gets to decide when students earn them or lose them.  If you gave positive or negative points for following directions on Hands and Eyes, then the students would have the power, and that wouldn't make the Scorekeeper very happy, would it?

The assignment on the WBT Book Club website was to create 3-5 gestures for educational terms that you plan to teacher next year.  Here are my gestures:

  1. For “positive/negative poles” when studying magnetic fields in science, students will put their hands together (like a soft clap) and then pull apart.  This can also be used for “attract” and “repel”, two other words on our vocabulary list.
  2. For “growing patterns” in mathematics, I’ll have the kids start with their hands close together, then get farther apart, to show that the pattern gets bigger in a growing pattern.
  3. When studying geometry, we teach the terms “edge” and “face”.  I’ll have the kids put up their hand, then with the other hand point to the side of their hand for “edge” and point to their palm for “face”.
  4. In language arts, one of our words for speaking and listening is “retell”.  I’ll have the students put their hand towards their chest, then flourish their hand outward to show the words are coming out of their mouths as they retell something to someone else. 
  5. For “root word”, I’ll have the students put two hands about shoulder-width in front of themselves, as if to bracket a word, and say “word!”  Then they will make their hands smaller, as if to bracket a small part of that word, and say “root word”.  
By adding words to our motions, we will get to Teacher Heaven!


  1. Hahaha - I cannot wait to see what Teacher Heaven looks like. I imagine lots of post it notes and organizational bins - ha! :) I found your blog through another blog and am I did. As I first year teacher, I am not ready to dive into WBT but love many of it's bits and pieces. Thank you for some great ideas for mirroring! :)

    The Brown-Bag Teacher

    1. Hi Catherine,
      I should have explained more - WBT calls it "Teacher Heaven" when quadruple learning is happening: visual, auditory, sensory, and kinesthetic. Thanks for stopping by! :)

  2. My K's and 1's love Mirror! When the K's are being especially rowdy (like after P.E.) Mirror is the best way to calm them done and get back to school work.
    And Hands and Eyes worked fabulously with my ASD students. They were always first and the most attentive when I'd call this out.
    Great Post!

    1. I love how you use Mirror to re-focus your K's! Great idea! :)

  3. I follow your other teaching blog - but I just found this one! I am your newest follower :)

    Mindful Rambles