“La Mano”

I’ve been using the “mano” for a number of years with my students, to help when it comes to their speaking and writing in terms of remembering which ending goes with which person or group of persons. I’m not quite sure if I came up with this strategy all on my own or if I had some help but either way, I love using it as a useful tool with students studying Spanish.

Students trace their own hand in their notebooks and label each finger accordingly. The thumb is considered “Yo” and they write “Yo” on the inside and “o” on the tip of the outside of the thumb. They signal to themselves with their own thumb and say “Yo, o”. The pointer finger becomes “Tú” with “as, es” and although it is not nice to point, they point to the person sitting next to them and as I like to say “stare into their eyeballs” and say, “Tú, as, es”. Next, as if they are counting starting with their thumb, they have three fingers in the air and point up to signify “Usted” by pointing towards me (their teacher), and finding a classmate in the room, point out  “él” and “ella”. With these movements, they state, “Usted, él, ella, a, e”. Now, the longest of all, we. The students have four fingers (ring finger) displayed and take their hands, so that they circle it around their head to say “Nosotros, nosotras, amos, emos, imos”. Some students like to circle around their head multiple times, no harm in that! Finally, all five fingers are out and the entire mano is now displayed, because we have arrived to our last endings, on the pinky. Students, using their entire hand, point up to signify a group of individuals who are older than they are to state “Ustedes” and then towards their classmates, “ellos” and a group of female classmates, “ellas”.  The tricky part is coordinating the hand movements with the statements. Once they get the hang of this slowly, you can then speed it up into a chant or rap, to make it more interesting and fun to do.

Yo, o

Tú, as, es

Usted, él, ella, a, e

Nosotros, nosotras, amos, emos, imos

Ustedes, ellos, ellas, an, en

Students practice “la mano” at the beginning of the school year and learn what each of the subject pronouns mean. When it comes to memorization, we turn “la mano” into a chant or rhyme to make it easier to recall. We practice “la mano” in various contexts, one on one, in partners, small groups and as a whole class. Either way, after repetition and practice, it does stick! I also allow students to quickly create “la mano” at the top of their writing assignments,  speaking prompts, free writes or quizzes/tests as an additional reference tool. This is especially helpful for students who struggle with the endings and need a visual reminder.

The mano can be used for ALL different types of endings, based on the -AR, -ER and -IR verbs and tenses of emphasis in your level of Spanish. Students in level one enjoyed the present tense and preterit tense “mano”- so we used our right & left hands.

Hopefully this trick will allow for smoother speaking and writing on behalf of your novice, intermediate or advanced learners of Spanish! ¡Suerte! 🙂

Power Point (ppt):  La Mano