Classroom activity for nonverbal communication

Written by k.c. moore
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Classroom activity for nonverbal communication
American Sign Language is a form of nonverbal communication that can be taught to students. (Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

When teaching students to communicate, it is important to instruct them in the different ways that humans use nonverbal communication to get a point across. This allows students to improve their communication skills by enriching their ability to read social cues and express themselves. Classroom activities that focus on nonverbal communication are a fun way for students to learn how to use their bodies to communicate with one another.

Facial Expressions

Study facial expressions with your students and ask them to make the correlation between emotion and the look on a person's face. Have students cut out pictures from old magazines, newspapers, comic books and other printed materials of different facial expressions. Students will then take these pictures and create a classroom collage of different emotions by grouping together different pictures that portray the same emotion. List the different ways that people express certain emotions in their face by studying the collages and looking for similarities.

Crack the Code

Instruct the students to create a coded language using their body to create a nonverbal code and then to use this code to send messages to one another. The coded language can consist of different audible actions such as stomping feet, clapping hands and snapping fingers and should be of the student's own designs. An easy way to start is to have the children come up with coded patterns for "yes" and "no" and then ask them simple questions that they have to answer in code.


The game of charades makes for a fun lesson in nonverbal communication. In charades, a student will use nonverbal clues to get the other students to correctly guess a secret word or phrase. The phrases can be anything that you think the students will be able to guess, but can also correlate to a particular lesson or set of vocabulary words. Ask the students after playing the game about their experience in nonverbal communication and why certain actions can be used to express different words.

Guess the Sign

Create American Sign Language flashcards that display diagrams on how to sign different words and put them in a hat or box. Have students take turns pulling a different sign out of the box and performing it for the class without revealing what the sign is. The other students take turns trying to guess the meaning behind the sign based on the visual clues provided. Whoever guesses correctly gets to pick the next flashcard and perform the sign for the class.

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