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Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Gestures for Editing

Do you have a few students write like this

without any punctuation

or. instead they. put periods. and commas,  in random places (I call that the salt and pepper method!)

along with Some caPitals here or there?



I have finally realized that some of my students don't see the punctuation. It is like their eyes just glaze over the periods and commas as if they do not even exist. These tend to be the same students who are weaker in reading. My theory is that they spend so much brain energy focusing on the words that the punctuation is overlooked.

Is there a solution? I am sure there are many different solutions. I love the book Everyday Editing. Another technique I'm using these days is called air punctuation.  You can learn more about this at Whole Brain Teaching. (If you have not checked out their website, I highly recommend it!)

Step one: Periods
Start putting out a stop signal with a hand and say "beep" when you come to a period

  • For example: Take the sentence, "The striped cat sleeps on the couch." The students would say: "The striped cat sleeps on the couch beep (hand up like a stop signal)"
Step two: Commas
Add in the commas with the word "Zoop" and make the hand motion for a comma

  • For example: "On the couch, the striped cat sleeps." The students would say, "On the couch zoop (hand curves in the air) the striped cat sleeps beep (stop sign)"
Step three: Indent
For and indention, the students use the word "Vroom" and move their hand forward from their body. 


These three steps and my kinesthetic editing checklist have made a huge difference in their writing. I'll talk about that more later!

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