Well folks, I hate to break it to you but this is not only my last learning project blog, it is my last assignment of the semester, and my last blog for at least 3 weeks. I am supper excited! Well here are the last 10 blog posts all rolled up into one final blog! I am going to share the deep and dirty secrets of each week, and then let you know what resources I discovered along the way, and what I would do differently.
Well this week was when I decided that I was going to do ASL as my learning project, I find language a beautiful thing (maybe because I like to talk), but ASL is often a language that goes un-noticed. In the past I have worked with babies through baby signing, my nephew learnt it when he was young and also worked with children who’s main language was ASL. Obviously it is very important to communicate with your students in a variety of way, so I thought this would be a great skill in my classroom!
Also, in the past I have watched the show “Switched at Birth” and really was interested in watching the signs and then reading the subtitles, often I even paused the show after they signed to read what they had just said. This was really painful and time consuming! Also, I found that they signed really fast (which obviously, like I talk really fast). I guess when you perfect something you go fast as long as people can keep up! I was really excited and couldn’t wait to start this journey!
This was the week that I learnt just a few phrases:
- Do you know how to sign?
- What’s up?
- How are you?
- Want to get coffee?
- What is your text number?
- I love you. (Friendly)
- Can you teach me sign?
I was literally like a kid playing police officer, you know the one handing out tickets all weekend long. Well, instead of tickets I was signing to everyone I saw, and I went and saw family, so I signed a lot! These phrases were fairly easy to remember and do, so it was a great way to start. The video that I found was awesome, and by starting off here I didn’t get discouraged. However, now that I have kind of wrapped up my learning I only remember a few of the signs for a few of the words. I guess that’s why its easier to learn a language if you are immersed in it. It’s true I guess, if you don’t use it you lose it!
This was week one of trying out the alphabet, and let me tell you that was easier said than done! I struggled, my hands hurt, and my fingers did not want to work as fast as I needed them to. Even now, one or two times through the alphabet and my knuckles are killing me! Which I learnt too that you should stretch your hands out before signing, and after – who would have thunk it?
I also would not have imagined that it would be taking me more than a week to learn the simplest alphabet, but it did! I almost got discouraged maybe because I thought that this was going to be so easy, maybe because my hands hurt. But I didn’t think I was ever going to learn it, and if I couldn’t do the alphabet than how was I going to do words and phrases?
Well, I thought I would have somewhat mastered the alphabet by the second week and then moved over and would have had the opportunity to learn it on my left hand too! But, who was I trying to kid?! I could barely do it on my dominant hand why would I even think that I could do it on my left? To be honest, it was a flop I can barely form the peace sign with my left hand let alone 26 letters! So, I had high hopes once again the crashed down… but I did learn and was able to film the alphabet on the right hand!
What better way to celebrate the halfway mark than by compiling a video of two weeks of lessons, why didn’t I showcase all of my learning? Well that’s because I didn’t have anyone to film me the other weeks and didn’t seem to think outside of the box to film myself on my computer or something. Looking back this video was a great contribution to my learning and my reflection, so I wish I would have done more! However, this was easy I would review all of the signs then record, then review, and then record. It made me seem like a pro (maybe not, but I felt like one). Using the internet as a resource was easy so I could constantly review it regardless where I was because I am one of those people who always have my phone on me!
Why does it seem like the basics are the hardest? Well, to be honest I feel like maybe the numbers and letters are so much harder because they are harder on the joints and mainly because I was forming them so rigid, where phrases and other words I do smoothly – exactly like the actors on “Switched at Birth”. So, once again I was struggling with something! The numbers I didn’t really have a great resources and got confused after the double digit mark so I decided to do some more research and learnt some things for week seven.
Well this week was a big week, not only did I find a great resource for numbers but I learnt some songs too! So, I found this great resource on YouTube, and learnt songs and numbers through it. I even subscribed which was the first thing I subscribed to! How exciting?! (I know I need a life desperately!
Well, once again I was taken aback and kind of struggling, on something that I was so excited about. OK, so I wouldn’t say I was struggling but when signing songs and only having to sign a few of the words it’s kind of difficult to remember where you are in the song, and how does it even make sense to students who have hearing impairments when you only sign a few of the words?! But, I learnt it and this is something I have taken to work with me – when I’m singing with the kids (poor kids, I can’t sing to save my life) I have started to sign along with the few songs that I learnt. The kids actually have even started following along with me.
This was a big week, I really wanted to succeed at the video that I was making with Hayley, so I found numerous resources and videos and practiced, practiced, practiced. I really liked this blog mainly because all of my resources were in one place, which was super helpful when it came time to record the video! My blog became my own resource. I mean it kind of sucked because I wasn’t able to have all of the videos in the same blog I ended up having to put links, but hey it worked.
The week of the video! I was so excited and honestly didn’t have to do more than record my own signing. I recorded myself and Hayley put the video together and I put it into my blog. I know I got the easy way out, but hey she’s amazing what can I say?! So, with one final week left of the assignment I decided to do what everyone does at the end of a unit and I was going to go over everything one last time!
Was a review period, and I went through and reviewed all of the signs I have learnt this semester! It was almost as if I was preparing for the end of the semester test. I reviewed and practiced all of the signs one last time. I am also so happy that I reached my goal! I may have set the bar low, but I reached it so that’s a win in my eyes!
Resources I would/would not recommend:
- Eight Friendly Phrases in American Sign Language – This video was easy, slow and great resources for the easy signs. I WOULD recommend it.
- Five Quick Tips for Signing the ASL Alphabet – These are some great tips, especially if your hands get sore while signing it, give it a read. I WOULD recommend it.
- ABC song/ASL alphabet – American Version – This song moved super fast, it had cute music. I would not recommend it because of the speed.
- The ASL app – This app was great, you can slow the signs down or keep them normal and follow along. I WOULD recommend it!
- Numbers 1 – 30 ASL – This video moved quickly, but it gave you a various views. But since it doesn’t give you the numbers that it is currently signing I got lost and confused. I would not recommend it, because I found a better number video on Communication Junction channel.
- Communication Junction – Seriously find them on YouTube, I really enjoyed these channel and even subscribed. I WOULD recommend it.
- Signing Time – This website was great. I have found that I learn ASL better through videos, and this website had numerous words and videos. I WOULD recommend it.
- YouTube – Many of the videos I used and things I learnt I found atleast one video on YouTube, if you ever want to learn ASL YouTube is a great resource. I WOULD recommend it.
- Pro Deaf – This is an app that I just found, but haven’t checked out so I am going to put it here but I don’t know if I would recommend it or not.
What would I do differently?
One thing I would do differently which is a major difference than what I did is, I would have some organization to this madness. I wish I would have outlined what I wanted to learn each week, then maybe things would have flowed nicely, rather than flying by the seat of my pants.
What did I learn?
- Resources are everything.
- Sometimes the things you think might be easy are hard than one would think.
- You don’t sign every single word!
Once last note, I really enjoyed this learning project – probably because I got to choose the topic, which is something I think is important to remember when getting students to do assignments!