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Body Language, GooseChase, & Holiday Categories Game

Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are— Last week, I attended a workshop facilitated by Leslie Ballard from AdvancED ( on reaching students from poverty. She shared a number of ideas, strategies, and real-world “stuff” but the one I’d like to share today is this TED talk by Amy Cuddy. We did not watch the video during the workshop, but Leslie mentioned that Amy did research on how posture and body language can change your life. Leslie talked about how many of our students from poverty walk into a classroom with a posture that closes them off from the teacher and classmates from the get-go. Here are a few bits that I loved from the talk–

  • “Our bodies change our minds. Our minds change our behavior. Our behavior changes our outcomes.”
  • “Tiny tweaks can lead to big change.”

It has really made me think about how such simple tips could change the outlook of a class period, or school day, for a student that feels less confident or has little success in school. We, as teachers, have all heard about the power of self-fulfilling prophecies. What if, before a test, quiz, or schedule change, students took a quick brain break and one of the movements was a “power pose” like stretching their arms out wide like they have won the big game? Or hands on their hips like they are ready to tackle that test? Maybe we make “our bodies change our minds, our minds change our behavior, our behavior changes our outcomes” our test-taking mantra? I’d love to hear some ideas that you might have for small ways to encourage all students.

Interested in other TED Talks for you or your students? Friend and science teacher Jeff Peterson (@petersonjeffrey) compiled this playlist that you might enjoy.

GooseChase– Have you heard of this app GooseChase? A Spanish teacher here in my building invited me into her  classes last week to witness it in action. A “scavenger hunt for the masses”, walks users through the process of creating scavenger hunts called “missions”. Students go on the hunt for answers to questions, riddles, or puzzles. They photograph themselves fulfilling each task & the support site shows the mission creator a live feed of each participant’s completed tasks. Looks like an engaging alternative to QR code hunts!— When silent sustained reading period gets painful, try some brain-teasing holiday-themed fun like this freebie. It is a categories game where students choose 3 letters, then list items under each category that start with those letters. As always, extend the activity by having students create their own categories to challenge others. Tie this idea back to your content-area classroom by creating, or having students create, content specific categories. Just a fun way to keep minds working when the break is quickly approaching and motivation might be a little low! Enjoy!


Instructional coach and former art teacher on the hunt for tips, tricks, strategies, and knowledge to pass along.

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