Back Pocket Teaching Strategy: The 10 Finger Sentence

A "back pocket" strategy is a tool a teacher can use in any classroom, with any group of students, with very minimal prep.  Whether a lesson went south, you had a pop-in observation, or you have 6 minutes left in the period, having back pocket strategies means you'll never be without a quick teaching solution.  Add these back pocket strategies to your teaching bag of tricks for this school year!

My number one strategy is the 10 Finger Sentence.  It's a great tool for practicing speaking and writing skills, and I've used it with everyone from kinders to adult learners.

Model a 10 finger sentence for your students by first choosing a topic.  Then, hold up your hands, and put down a finger for each word in your sentence.  You'll notice that you automatically have to make revisions and edits to your sentence to get your message across.  Your students will enjoy watching your brain work as you attempt the strategy.  Then, encourage sub-vocalization and finger tapping as they work to create their own 10 Finger Sentence. What a great way to demonstrate the power of word choice! 

A 10 finger sentence helps reluctant speakers use the vocabulary they know, gives kids practice using grammar accurately, and offers a fun, stress-free way to demonstrate fluent speaking.  It's an excellent choice for emerging readers and writers as well! Use the 10 Finger Sentences as a segue into the Language Experience Approach, and you've created an entirely student-centered activity tailored to the student's proficiency level. 

Get ready for more Back Pocket Teaching Strategies coming soon! 


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