The dictionary defines a high-five as:
“a gesture of greeting, good-fellowship, or triumph in which one person slaps the upraised palm of the hand against that of another.”
We all use high-fives throughout the day with our students, but have you ever thought about a way to use it as a teaching strategy to mean more than good job?
I use high-fives with many of my students, but I especially use this gesture of “good job” with my students on the spectrum. During whole group therapy, I use high-fives throughout the lesson when my students follow a direction or complete a task. High-fives are great, but after a while they can lose their meaning so it’s important to say something more than “good job!” Be more specific. Say something like, “I like how you clapped your hands!” or “I like how you said snowman!” or “ I like how you listened to your teacher when she asked you to sit!”
Another thing I like to do is use high-fives to work on basic concepts and making choices. I will ask my students, “Do you want a high five or a low five?” I will use a high voice and a low voice when saying the corresponding words. Or I might ask, “Do you want a front five or a back five?” Many of our students on the spectrum are working hard on those communication skills so think of all the different ways you can present scenarios that require a response to a choice. You can offer them a choice between a high-five or a sticker of a high-five (they sell those on Amazon). You can have high-five hands printed on different colored paper or different sizes, laminated then attached to a wooden stick and ask, “Do you want to high-five the red or blue hand?” or “Do you want to high-five the big or small hand?” My typical ending to a whole group session is to offer each of my students a high five or knuckles. My students love knuckles because they are usually exploding knuckles! Within a short time, many of my students are asking for one of each as they hold up one high-five hand and one knuckle… lol!
So remember how important a simple high-five can be. Always combine positive words/feedback with that high-five. Even on days when the behaviors are elevated, I will find something positive to say such as, “I like how you are sitting!” or on those really rough days, “I like that you were here today!”
With Warm Regards, Monae 🙂