Monday, June 23, 2014

Guest Blogger...Kristen

Hi everyone! I'm Kristin from My Carolina ClassroomI  just finished my first year of teaching and I'm a brand new blogger.  Darleen is kindly allowing me to take over for the day!  I want to share something I learned during my first year in the classroom. 

By the end of 2nd grade, all of my students knew the sign language alphabet and were using it daily. I'm not going to act like this was part of my master plan to enrich my students' learning; It was a TOTAL accident! In retrospect, teaching my students sign language was one of the best things that I accidentally-on-purpose did as a first-year teacher. It all started during word study. It was one of those days that I'm sure all first year (and veteran) teachers have. I was tired, I had a headache... and I had a brilliant idea. I pulled up and projected the sign language alphabet. We talked a little about how ASL (American Sign Language) is a different language. I paired up the students, pointed out the week's spelling and sight words, and said "go." My second graders spent 20 minutes signing words to their partners, who in turn had to figure out which spelling or sight word it was.
Just like that, my class was HOOKED! They begged me to do sign language every day. I printed each of them a copy of the alphabet and sometimes we practiced sign language as a brain break. My kids could not get enough. It was amazing to me how quickly they all picked up on it. It wasn't long before I could start incorporating sign language into our daily routines.

RAISED HANDS: When students raised their hands, they made a Q for a question, C for a comment, or an R for restroom. This was a major help to me, as I could avoid the storytellers when needed.

BATHROOM BREAKS: You know that awkward time when kids are done using the restroom and they have to stand in line silently and patiently? I would sign the name of someone standing the correct way in the hallway, and that student would raise his or her hand. We started with first names, then last, then middle. After they got the hang of it, I let the kids be in charge. (Once, I used this method to keep my class under control while waiting to be dismissed from an assembly. My administration was impressed!)

CHORAL RESPONSE: As you know, it's important to use choral response as much as possible so all students stay actively engaged. When we practiced multiple choice questions, I had students show me their answers by using sign language.

ATTENTION GRABBER: Occasionally I would use sign language to grab my students' attention at the start of a lesson. I would stand silently at the front of the room and use the ASL alphabet to slowly sign a sentence. The kids would sit still and quiet, trying to figure out what I was spelling.

LUNCH: When the cafeteria monitors decided to put the students on silent lunch due to noise level, my class got creative and began communicating to each other in sign language. My colleagues and I thought it was hilarious and couldn't decide if we should put a stop to it or not, because although the kids were communicating, they were technically being silent! Thank you so much for having me, Darleen and Darleen's readers! I hope that you find a way to use sign language in your classroom. Come by My Carolina Classroom anytime. :)

My Carolina Classroom

 
 

6 comments:

  1. Love the idea of using sign language! I may try it next year with my second graders!

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  2. LOVE that idea! I'm working at a camp for deaf and/or hard of hearing students this summer. I've known the ASL alphabet since 4th grade, but this summer I am actually learning to sign sentences. It has been one of the best experiences ever. I can't wait to implement signs next year. No more thumbs up for the bathroom. They can use ASL!

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  3. Great idea. So useful. The kids have to really pay attention to know what is going on. Teaching Science With Lynda

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  4. I just happened to stumble across your blog, Darleen! What a great post Kristen did! :) The sign language idea is brilliant! It helps the kids learn part of another language while also keeping them quieter and gaining attention. Great idea!
    - Heather
    Mrs. Renz' Class

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  5. These are great ideas!! I remember being so enthralled by sign language as a child. I never would have thought of using it in these ways! Definitely tucking that away in my mind. Thanks!

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  6. This is so great! My husband learned sign in school and still signs everything we pass as I drive. He truly loves it, and he had a teacher that made it stick. What a great thing for your students.

    Mrs. D
    The Third Wheel

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