Unlike continuous whole-class (plenary) interaction, independent task work involves incipient teacher–student talk, as the teacher typically ‘makes rounds’ to engage in brief desk interactions with students. This article draws on multimodal conversation analysis to investigate how teacher movement during tasks offers resources for re-engaging in desk interactions and offering task-related guidance. The focus is on teachers’ walking trajectories and ways of positioning the body, and students’ orientation to them, in (i) (pre-)opening moments of a desk interaction, and (ii) during a subsequent instructional turn that guides students with the ongoing task. The analysis shows how the pedagogical actions of checking and assessing student progress as well as making oneself available to students become observable in ways of walking, and how students display bodily whether they need teacher help. Movement also offers resources for shifting from individualized to collective instruction during rounds. These findings suggest that ways of navigating the body in the classroom space can index pedagogical concerns, which the students can use to make sense of the teachers’ ongoing and projected engagements.

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