H is for Head, Heart and Hand

head heart hand

Dear 8B,

The head, heart and hand are the source of numerous expressions and metaphors in our language. For example:

  • She wears her heart on her sleeve.
  • He can’t get his head around this idea.
  • I have my hands full at the moment.

Can you explain each of these and think of others?

These three domains of human thought, emotion and action are also central to the ideas of a Swiss educational reformer, Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi.

In the task detailed below I would like you to reflect on the symbolic meanings of these three words and on the varying roles each domain plays in your personal and educational life.

In the table below, there are some words and phrases that you will be discussing and classifying in class. Many of the words in the lists will be familiar, while others will be new to you.

Kind regards,

Ms Green

PS Don’t forget to continue creating your “i-Want” with its satisfying mix of death-defying and frustration-defeating new-tech tools for a more manageable existence. You might have a/n —— -overrider (Nathan’s contribution), generator, organiser, activator (Ryan’s suggestion), delayer, muter, rewinder, dispenser, teleporter, remote, changer, interpreter, vaporiser (Emma’s contribution) or robot. 

heart28, clipartlord, pd hand5, clipartlord, pd
head heart  hand




emotion, feeling, thought, action, creativity, belief, morality, inventiveness, 

common sense, memory, dexterity, compassion, responsibility, dignity, 

coordination, imagination, knowledge, physical strength, empathy, experience, practice


cognitive, active, reasonable, manual, rational, psychological, physical, 

practical, logical, technical, intellectual, analytical


do, love, think, feel, remember, evaluate, understand, touch, consider, learn, design, 

interpret, perform, analyse, operate, build, contemplate, reason, think through


learn through experience, develop motor skills, consider theoretical perspectives, judge the validity

of a theory, carry out an experiment, formulate a hypothesis, weigh up the benefits and disadvantages, 

develop self-awareness, become more mature, maintain friendships, deal with complex situations, 

resolve a disagreement, put a theory into practice, reflect upon one’s actions, plan a series of actions, 

use effective tools, inspire others, develop a philosophy of life, respond to a friend’s anxieties, 

solve a problem

Activities (link to handout) 

“You seem to have the weight of the world upon your shoulders.” | “I’ve got your back.” | “That man is really two-faced.”
Our list of idioms from our first class – click to see in full size

1 Draw a simple picture of the human body (just in silhouette, no need for detail!) and write some more examples of expressions to do with parts of the body around your drawing; for instance: sticking your nose into someone else’s business, giving someone a hand, having one foot in the grave, etc.

2 Classify the words in the table by drawing little icons next to them. Use the handout (downloadable below) to do this.

3 Rank the three icons (head, heart, hand) from your strongest to weakest. Write two to three sentences to justify your choice.

4 Choose at least five words and phrases that describe you well in your strongest area. 

5 Choose at least three words or phrases that describe you well in the other two areas.

6 Write them on a small concept map.

7 Develop a little self-description, with reference to your character, talents, interests and achievements. 

  • Use as many of the words you have chosen as possible.
  • Utilise some words and constructions that trigger subordinate clauses in your paragraph: for instance: although, when I…, whereas I…, while I…, etc.
  • Employ as many words from the table as you can. Focus on describing your strengths and be honest, thoughtful and incisive!

7 Once you have completed your paragraph, show it to me. When I am content with your style and expression, you can then add it as a comment to this blog, so that your classmates can read it and respond to your ideas.

Phrases to help you get started – or feel free to think up some of your own:

  • I would describe myself as…
  • I find it difficult to categorise myself, but…
  • I believe that I am ruled by…
  • My greatest talent is…
  • One of my best qualities is…
  • My friends tell me that I am good at…
  • I believe that I have a gift for…
  • The driving force in my life is…
  • What matters most of all to me is…
  • At school I may appear to be ruled by rational ideas, but on the football field I…
  • Sadly I am not particularly…
  • Despite being…, I am often…
  • Although I am sometimes…, I am also…

Links and Downloads

♥ Downloadable handout for this topic 

Body Language – An Alphabet of Idioms 

 Kahoot: Body Idioms: Class | Preview

Online Quiz: Body Idioms

i-Want handout

A Kahoot based on the vocabulary in this post

Class Mode | Preview Mode


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