Wednesday, May 07, 2008

A Year of Teaching American Sign Language

Counting in ASL - signing "9"
This year in our homeschool co-op the classes I taught were American Sign Language. The first semester I worked with 2-3 year olds, since I was used to teaching baby & toddler signing classes this was a breeze and quite fun. My class consisted of all girls the age of Ruby (who was also in the class) and we referred to the class as "The Little Princess Class". They had fun, and at the end of first semester in the winter production they sang and signed 2 songs: Jesus Loves Me and Happy Happy Home.

Ruby signing "flower" with some of her classmates

Last week, I finished my second semester of teaching a class of 6-7 year olds, which included Gabriella, who absolutely excels in signing (she's quickly passing up mom!). I was a bit more challenged by this group, not really for lack of material, but because of the different personalities in the class. A few of the kids just did not seem overly enthused about the subject material, while others, like Gabriella and her friend Matteya loved it and wanted to move at a faster pace. All in all though, the entire group ended up doing very well and learned a great deal, the inclusion of learning about Koko the gorilla who signs 1,000's of words increased topic interest all the way around! In the end-of-year program, this group signed and sang God Bless America; you can see them practicing in the photo below.

It just so happened that last week the college where Mike works put on an ASL presentation for children. The two college classes, along with two high school classes joined forces to present 3 short plays: The Three Little Pigs, The Gingerbread Man, & Goldilocks and The Three Bears - all done in ASL, with a narrator translating. In between the plays there were musical presentations the high school kids signed to, such as: Ain't No Mountain High Enough, Lean on Me, and Waiting for the World to Change.

My kids had a great time, and several of the kids from my ASL class were able to attend too, which was a great conclusion to their semester. Ruby was a bit nervous during scenes with the Big Bad Wolf, or the scene when the 3 Bears came home - on the other hand, she laughed herself silly when the Gingerbread Man ran about the stage! In the end, the entire auditorium gave a huge round of applause in ASL!

Gabriella & classmate learning signs about home and family - signing "mother"
learning to sign "turtle"

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