六合投注官网 Employee, Daughter Co-Author Picture Book

Christina鈥檚 CommUNITY Cues features engagement strategies for the classroom

By Juliann Morris

March 25, 2024鈥擜 new book co-authored by a Jefferson County Public Schools (六合投注官网) employee and her daughter is helping break down communication barriers and increase engagement and inclusion in classrooms.

Candice Hardin and Jasmine Hardin lay on the floor with their Book Christina's CommUNITY Cues sitting nearby.

Candice Hardin, a 六合投注官网 Louisville Teacher Residency coach, wrote Christina鈥檚 CommUNITY Cues with her daughter Jasmine Hardin, a third grader at Fern Creek Elementary, about the unique classroom communication system Candice developed using hand signals.

鈥淎ny school can do this,鈥 Candice Hardin said. 鈥淚t doesn鈥檛 have to be limited to the classroom. It could be on the bus, in the cafeteria, outside, at a meeting, or anywhere. But it really helps to deepen and enrich discussion, and it鈥檚 a 100 percent participation technique.鈥

The Christina's CommUNITY Cues picture book puts Hardin鈥檚 method into story form. It follows a third grader named Christina, who teaches others to express themselves in new and exciting ways as she navigates the challenges of starting at a brand-new school.

The book includes an index of 13 commUNITY cues. For example, students clap when they say 鈥渂ecause鈥 before adding evidence to a statement. There are signals indicating you agree or respectfully disagree with someone, one for when you have a question, and another signaling that you want to add on to someone鈥檚 idea. Making the letter 鈥淰鈥 with your pointer and middle finger indicates that you鈥檙e using a vocabulary word, Candice Hardin said.

The method helps move away from a classroom where the teacher has to ask all of the questions to keep the discussion moving.

鈥淚t鈥檚 all student driven,鈥 Candice Hardin said. 鈥淭his book is really a tool for teachers to introduce this culturally responsive engagement strategy.鈥

Hardin has led professional development sessions at 六合投注官网 and surrounding school districts. Participants would often ask if she had a book they could reference to help them launch the strategy in their own classrooms. She invited Jasmine, who had long been interested in her mom鈥檚 CommUNITY Cues, to help her tell the story through the lens of a third grader.听

The process brought Candice and Jasmine closer together. It also highlighted that parents 鈥渄o not know everything,鈥 Candice Hardin said.

Jasmine, who is portrayed as 鈥淐hristina鈥 in the book, insisted that the story highlight her love of sushi. At first, Candice was reluctant. But Jasmine persuaded her. In the book, Christina discusses her fondness for the Japanese staple with a classmate, who uses the 鈥渁gree鈥 signal to let Christina know she also likes sushi. That scene has been one of the more engaging ones when she reads the book aloud to students, Candice Hardin said.

鈥淚t was fun,鈥 Jasmine said of writing the book with her mom. 鈥淚 liked that we worked together on this鈥t would be terrific if we could write a lot more books.鈥

The book鈥攚ritten under the pen names Candice Christina and Jasmine Christina鈥攍aunched on Amazon earlier this year and is available for purchase now.

Candice and Jasmine dream of traveling the world, sharing the power of CommUNITY Cues with others and celebrating the diversity in nonverbal and verbal communication styles, Candice Hardin said.

鈥淯ltimately, my goal is to have this book in various bookstores, schools, and daycares around the city, state, and country,鈥 she said. 鈥淚 would love to share this story and technique as a way to really increase the rapport and engagement in classrooms across the world.鈥

See the CommUNITY Cues in Action:听

Hear students talk about the benefits of CommUNITY Cues:听