It was an average lesson about editing our writing and the students had been hunting for errors in a text that was up on the Smartboard. I knew it was taking longer than I had expected but when I nervously looked at the clock I may very well have said aloud 'Oh, my! How will I get through all of this before the bell?' In a moment of pseudo-desperation and makeshift brilliance, I instructed the class that I would read through the passage and they were to raise their hand where there should be a full stop. Simple enough. They followed the instructions and were doing okay.
Then it happened. (WP) stood up at the back of the class and rather than raising his hand, he was pushing it forward at waist height. Are you thinking what I was thinking? I stopped in my tracks.
"Etu (maori for stand)! To your feet!" I instructed and quickly explained that we would open-palm-punch at waist height (like a Jedi 'push', if that helps) for full stops, do the same but add a straight forearm and hand above for exclamation marks, and an angled forearm with a bent wrist for questions. Naturally, each of these are followed by a capital letter so we began each sentence by raising our arms out in a big circle and back in to a prayer/"domo arigato Mr Squires" stance until the next piece of punctuation.
The engagement was incredible! They were so excited everytime we reached a full stop. They loved the exclamation marks. They could barely contain themselves when the reader asked a question! Now I have big ideas about colons, commas and apostrophes. I have to admit I never knew I had ninjas in my classroom, but I guess that's the way they like it.
No students were harmed in the learning of this punctuation.
All actions were performed by trained, professional students.