Series Five Essential Practices for the Teaching of ELLs - Elementary : Say It with Your Hands

Say It with Your Hands

Lesson Objective: Use hand gestures to clarify language
All Grades / All Subjects / ELL


Enjoy your first video for free. Subscribe for unlimited access.

Have questions about subscribing? Click Here to learn more.

Discussion and Supporting Materials

Thought starters

  1. How can you build hand gestures into lesson planning?
  2. How can you encourage your students to use hand gestures?
  3. Why is this strategy especially useful for English Language Learners?


  • Private message to sukanya mohanan
Amazing ideas i 'd like to use them in my practise too. Thank yo.
Recommended (0)
  • Private message to Tracy Beck
This is a great strategy to use for young learners too.
Recommended (0)
  • Private message to Mary Brewer

I teach Kindergarten and I can see how useful this is. Almost half of my class is ELL, and I find that using gestures gets the students moving, and with movement comes more understanding and brain connections!

Recommended (0)
  • Private message to Muyibat Folami
Great one. Hand movement can be used for all grade level. It leads to a greater understanding and retention of content taught.
Recommended (0)
  • Private message to Mary Brewer

Yes- once you have students moving with you, you have their brains connected to what you are teaching!!

Recommended (0)
  • Private message to Stephanie Marquez
Hand movements are an awesome and effective way for ELL students to expand on their vocabulary and reading comprehension. Great strategy!
Recommended (0)
  • Private message to Jeremy Dixon
Hand signals are good for ELL learners. It allows them to paint a picture in their mind. This might be good to pair up ELL and non-ELL'S that way communication will happen no matter what.
Recommended (2)


  • Say It with Your Hands Transcript

    Speaker 1: We're going to do it together. One thing that I use to support

    Say It with Your Hands Transcript

    Speaker 1: We're going to do it together. One thing that I use to support all my learners including my English language learners is to use hand movements, so they understand better what I'm talking about. Let's read a little bit more here. People are different. Some people are short, some have brown eyes. When I'm planning a lesson, I try to think of all the gestures that I could use to support that lesson. Size, texture. Right now we're doing a lesson on variations. Shape could be circular. It could be wavy shapes, bumpy shape, jagged shape. What's this? Small or tiny. What was different in that? Sometimes I'll use hand movements in the reverse like I saw you using a gesture, like what does that mean? Can you tell me, when the couldn't really articulate it in words.

    Speaker 2: The wings.

    Speaker 1: What did you say, the rings?

    Speaker 2: The wings.

    Speaker 1: The wings. What about the wings? For EL learners, as well as everybody, actually, it really gets that concept attainment or the vocabulary, what it is. If I make a gesture, it's an international language. I can use that in addition to writing something down or talking about it intellectually. Some were ...

    Speaker 3: Big, and the shape.

    Speaker 1: The shape of them. I try to use that as much as possible for all students. Some people can run fast.

Related Blogs

English Language Learners

English Language Learners/ Professional Learning

Professional Learning

Professional Learning

School Details

Glen Park Elementary School
151 Lippard Avenue
San Francisco CA 94131
Population: 344

Data Provided By:



Anna Dearlove
English Language Arts Math Science Social Studies Arts / 2 / Teacher


TCH Special
60 MIN

Webinar / New Teachers / Back to School

19 MIN

Uncut / ELA / Engagement

TCH Special
49 MIN

Webinar / Self-Care / SEL

TCH Special
53 MIN

Webinar / Teacher Wellness / Classroom Management