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Sign of the Day - FOURTH
(as in in a sequence)
Learning Tips | Tuesday, April 26, 2016
It’s easy to start signing with your baby and it’s amazing to be able to communicate with them through sign before they are able to talk. To get started, simply use signs when communicating with your child. There isn’t a "right" way or specific order to learning or teaching signs, just start by picking signs that make the most sense in the context of your baby’s life. There is no limit to how many signs you should introduce at a time, so sign as much as you are comfortable with. In particular, fluent signers and parents with deaf children should sign as much as possible.
This is just one example of how you could introduce signs to a baby that is 0 to 6 months old and comes from the prospective of hearing parents with hearing children.
Who lives in the household and who do they interact with the most?
If you have others that interact with your baby on a regular basis, you can also sign their names, such as GRANDPA, GRANDMA, AUNT, UNCLE, etc. Our family doesn’t live in the same city as us, so we mostly stuck to signing just MOM and DAD. We would sign in context to when we were talking about that person or when they were in the room. For example, "DAD is on his way home." "Look, DAD is home!"
When we would call family, we would use the sign then as well. For example, we would say, "We’re going to call GRANDPA and GRANDMA now," and sign GRANDPA and GRANDMA. We would sign GRANDPA and GRANDMA again when we were on the phone with them. We would often do video calls (FaceTime or Skype) and point to them and say and sign, "That’s GRANDPA. That’s GRANDMA."
Don’t forget about your pets, they’re a part of your household too! We have a cat, so we would sign CAT when he came in the room with us.
Think about anyone that your baby interacts with on a regular or daily basis. Who watches them during the day? A parent? A family member? A BABYSITTER?
What activities do they do the most?
Think about what your baby does the most throughout the day – these are the things that are most common to your baby’s world and the best signs to start with.
Newborns do very little – mostly they eat/drink milk, sleep, and go to the bathroom.
The most common sign we would use is MILK. Every time our son would have a feeding or bottle we would sign MILK. We would say, "Are you hungry, do you want some MILK?" While feeding him, we would say and sign, "Here’s your MILK."
Newborns also go to the bathroom… a lot! When we would change our son’s diaper, we would sign POTTY / BATHROOM. You could sign DIAPER, but I found signing DIAPER to be a little impractical because it is signed at the waist and either I was holding him or he was on the changing table, my waist would typically be below my son’s eye level and I wanted him to be able to see when I signed, so using the sign POTTY just worked better for us.
As the baby grows and does more things during the day, you can incorporate more signs into your daily usage, like the sign PLAY.
Introduce new signs contextually, when something is happening or about to happen. For example, if you are taking your baby to daycare, start signing SCHOOL the week before daycare starts (lots of people call daycare "school," but use whatever terminology you prefer to call it). Say, "Next week you’re going to SCHOOL." "Today you’re going to SCHOOL." "This is your SCHOOL."
Fingerspelling and the Alphabet
Fingerspelling is an important part of American Sign Language. Fingerspelling is signing the individual letters of the alphabet to spell out words. If you’re not sure what the sign is for an individual English word, you should think about the meaning of the word because that may help you think of a sign has that same meaning, however, there are many English words that do not have an ASL sign and should be fingerspelled. Names are often fingerspelled, such as the name of a company or of a person that does not have a sign name.
There are a number of ways you can introduce the alphabet and fingerspelling to your child.
- Sign the Alphabet song
- Read the book Chika Chika Boom Boom and sign the letters as they are mentioned throughout the book
- Sign names – say, "Your name is ________" and fingerspell their name. You can also say, "Your name is spelled _______." You can tell them other people’s names and spell them, like siblings’ names, etc. Don't forget about your pet's names too!
While spelling is likely beyond the cognitive abilities of this age range, it never hurts to start to lay the foundation earlier and I like the excuse to practice my fingerspelling! Children do recognize the shapes that you are making and will learn what a name looks like over time and will eventually realize the sign is made up of individual letters. It’s not expected, or is it the point, that they understand individual letters at this young age, but what’s important is that introducing fingerspelling continues to enhance communication and language skills.
Again, remember these are just suggestions. There isn’t a "right" way or specific order to learning or teaching signs, just start by picking signs that make the most sense in the context of your baby’s life. And keep doing it!
More Resources to Help You Get Started
Signing Savvy Wordlist:
Signing Savvy Member Feature: Download this image / flyer as a printable PDF page.
Learning Tips | Friday, April 8, 2016
This article is part of our “Signs That Are Close... But Not the Same” series, which highlights signs that look similar, but have different meanings. This is the first article of this series, but watch for more to come!
Hello! I’m Brenda Cartwright (BC) and today’s fun topic is: “Signs That Are Close... But Not the Same.”
The ASL signs shown below look similar, but are not the same. There are many ASL signs that when produced look similar, but in fact have a completely different meaning. Below you will find examples of such signs. Watch closely to see if you can see the difference. In addition, watch my eyebrows, look to see when I tilt my head or lean my body in a certain way, even what my mouth is doing. These nuances are called inflections and trust me, inflections matter. Enjoy!
1. Sick vs. Disease
You can remember the signs for SICK and DISEASE because your extended middle fingers point at the areas where we often feel sick - at your forehead and stomach. For SICK, touch your forehead and stomach at the same time. DISEASE is similar, but you make small circles in and out from the body.
2. Ask vs. Question
The signs for ASK and QUESTION can look similar, but for ASK you make a bent motion with your index finger as it moves in the direction of who you are asking the question of, while when you sign QUESTION you make the outline of a question mark in the air.
3. Senate vs. Committee
4. Science vs. Experiment
To remember these signs, think of combining the contents of two beakers or test tubes by pouring them into a single container. SCIENCE uses A-hands and EXPERIMENT is an ASL initialized sign of SCIENCE that uses E-hands. CHEMISTRY (C-hands) and BIOLOGY (B-hands) are also ASL initialized signs of SCIENCE.
5. Convince me vs. Convince you
Convince is a directional sign. To sign CONVINCE ME, your B-hands make a chopping motion at the same time towards your neck and to sign CONVINCE YOU the motion is done outward, towards the person you are trying to convince.
6. Pray vs. Request
PRAY and REQUEST are similar, but for PRAY your hands are together and make a downward motion in front of your chest, while REQUEST starts with your hands away from your body and then they move in to come together and make the PRAY sign.
7. Attention vs. Focus
8. Russia vs. Brag
9. Drink (as in "drink something non-alcoholic") vs. Drink (as in "drink liquor")
It’s easy to get the different signs for DRINK confused, but signing you need a drink can have two very different meanings depending on what sign you use. The two signs use the same movement and placement, but DRINK (as in "drink something non-alcoholic") uses a C-hand, while DRINK (as in "drink liquor") uses a modified C-hand with three fingers.
10. Don't mind vs. Don't care
11. Glasses vs. Gallaudet
This example shows that small differences in movement matter. For both signs, the G-hand starts open and closes as it pulls back - there is one movement for GALLAUDET and two movements for GLASSES. You can remember that the sign for GALLAUDET is like the sign for GLASSES because Thomas Gallaudet wore glasses.
12. Empty vs. Available
This is another example of how small differences in movement matter. For both signs the middle finger slides out along the back of the non-dominant hand - there is one movement for EMPTY and two movements for AVAILABLE.
13. Sad vs. Friendly
Facial expressions are important when conveying meaning in sign language, but especially when it comes to signing emotions. When signing SAD, the open 5 hands slowly slide down the face, while for FRIENDLY they make a fluttering motion while moving up and away from the face.
14. March vs. Funeral
A similar movement is made when signing MARCH and FUNERAL, but MARCH uses 4-hands with the palms down marching out (think of the fingers as people moving in sync together in a parade), while FUNERAL uses upright V-hands (think of people following each other in a funeral procession).
These examples are aligned with the Visual Discrimination section of Lesson 8 (page 98) from Activities in American Sign Language by Brenda Cartwright and Sue Bahleda. Check out the book for more ASL Activities and watch for more examples from this series: “Signs That Are Close... But Not the Same.”
Teaching Tips | Monday, March 21, 2016
Signing Savvy membership is a great tool and has saved me lots of time! I have the wonderful privilege to share ASL with the students at St. Peter's Lutheran School. Together with the classroom teacher, Mrs. Susan Bennett, we wanted to create a project for the students to learn ASL. We picked the topic, Thanksgiving. The goal of the project was for the students to be able to share sign language with their families on Thanksgiving Day. We had six weeks to get it done. Before learning of the potential of a membership with Signing Savvy, I had spent tremendous amounts of time and energy locating printable signs for our projects.
Signing Savvy has great video resources to teach a class signs which are also printable. Using “My List” on Signing Savvy, I created lists with everything this class loved about Thanksgiving. This list included: going to church, inviting friends and family for dinner, favorite holiday foods, the parades, and football. The class gained knowledge and signing skills each week as we practiced their vocabulary on "My Lists." They continued building their sign language vocabulary through the printable signs. They could take them home for reference to practice independently, which further fueled their passion for learning ASL.
Screenshot of a sign from my wordlist, also shows printing options.
The students were so excited, they decided to create a book for Thanksgiving which was only weeks away. The students were put in groups of two or three. Using printable materials from Signing Savvy; each group designed a page in the book using different signs printed from the website. We decided John Miller would be our guest of honor, because he was “the man in the blue shirt” on every page in their storybook. We compiled all of the pages of literature, drawings and photos of our guest of honor for one great Thanksgiving story. These third graders loved being set free to write and illustrate a storybook. Now they needed a title.
Students working on cutting out printed signs for their book.
Every story needs a good title. With crayons and markers, pictures and pen, each student expressed themselves with their own title and book cover. One story with many different titles: Pass the Turkey, Signing Thanksgiving, Pie Time!, Happy Thanksgiving Praise, John and the Drink Choice, and Our First Thanksgiving Signing.
Students with their books: one Thanksgiving story with many titles!
The best part was seeing the entire class proud of their accomplishments. They achieved their goal. They created a great Thanksgiving story filled with the things they love, to share with the people they love on a special Thanksgiving Day. This was a fun learning experience for everyone. Many thanks to Signing Savvy, oh what a fun and enjoyable time we all had!
Students presenting their completed book.
After our Thanksgiving storybook project was completed, we sent a copy of the book to John, the man in the blue shirt, on Signing Savvy. The students were excited when John volunteered to "meet" with us via skype. The class got to practice their signing with him and ask questions about Signing Savvy.
Students meeting with John, the man in the blue shirt from Signing Savvy.
It was a great project that expanded their sign language vocabulary and got them excited about sharing what they learned with their families.
We would love to hear how you use Signing Savvy. Contact us if you would like to share your experience with us
Deaf Culture | Thursday, March 10, 2016
This article is part of our "Living Loud" series, which highlights famous people who are deaf or hard of hearing and their impact in the world.
Juliette Gordon Low founded the Girl Scouts and “envisioned an organization that would prepare girls to meet their world with courage, confidence, and character.” Started in 1912 when women in the United States couldn’t yet vote, Gordon Low grew the first troop of 18 girls into a global movement of nearly 3 million Girl Scouts in 92 countries and with more than 59 million alumae.2
Oil painting of Juliette Gordon Low completed in 1887 by Edward Hughes. This painting is on display in the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. (Photo Credit: Edward Hughes [Public Domain], via Wikimedia Commons)
Juliette Magill Kinzie Gordon was born on October 31, 1860 in Savannah, Georgia and nicknamed “Daisy.”4 She was from a wealthy family and was well educated, attending some of the best boarding schools.6 4
She was born hearing, but started to lose her hearing when she was seventeen10 and had severe hearing loss by her mid-twenties. She was accident-prone as a child and had many injuries and illnesses, including a case of brain fever, frequent ear infections, earaches, and recurring bouts of malaria.7 In January 1885, when she was 24 years old, she got a terrible ear infection in her right ear.5 Antibiotics had not been discovered yet and Daisy persuaded the doctor to try silver nitrate, a new cure she had heard about. The doctor used silver nitrate in her ear, which caused more damage, and she lost part of her hearing in that ear.8
An Incredible Coincidence
On her wedding day on December 21, 1886 (she picked the same day that her parents got married for good luck), a grain of rice thrown in celebration landed in Gordon Low’s left ear and got stuck. She ignored the issue until the pain became so great she had to leave her honeymoon to seek treatment. When a doctor worked to remove it, he punctured her ear drum and it became infected. The infection damaged nerves, which made her permanently deaf in that ear.8 4
A Survivor Who Doesn’t Hear “No”
Married life wasn’t the happily ever after she had hoped for. Her husband drank heavily and cheated on her. She planned on getting a divorce, but her husband died from a seizure in 1905 before it was finalized. They had been married for 19 years, however, in his will, he left most of his money to his mistress.6 4 Gordon Low contested the will, “When my husband died, I found that he had willed his entire estate to another woman. No one was going to get away with that! Against the advice of my friends, I decided to contest the will and eventually I won a $500,000 settlement.”12 In addition to an annual income, she received their Savannah Lafayette Ward estate, which included the Andrew Low House and where she would later house the first Girl Scouts headquarters (in the carriage house).6 4 5
Deaf in one ear and with only partial hearing in the other, Gordon Low would use her deafness to her advantage by refusing to hear “No.” She knew she needed help to start the Girl Scouts. "The first woman I approached tried to tell me she wasn't interested. I pretended that my deafness prevented me from hearing her refusals… I never heard a word of argument from her again!”12
A Life-Changing Meeting
In 1911, Gordon Low met Lord Robert Baden-Powell, the founder of the British Boy Scouts.6 4 She wanted girls to have the same opportunity to develop self-reliance and resourcefulness, so she created a similar organization for girls. At the age of 51, she brought together 18 girls to form the first registered American Girl Guides troop in her hometown of Savannah, Georgia on March 12, 1912.4
Juliette Gordon Low putting a badge on a girl scout. (Photo Credit: Author Unknown [Public Domain], via Wikimedia Commons)
The name of the organization was changed and the Girl Scouts of the USA became a reality in 1913. The organization was incorporated in 1915 and Gordon Low served as president from its inception until 1920 when she was granted the title of founder and stepped down so that she could focus on promoting the Girl Scouts program on an international scale.4 11
Gordon Low envisioned the Girl Scouts to be inclusive for all girls - open to girls of any race, background, financial situation, and ability.9 She encouraged the girls to be independent, make their own choices, and develop their own talents and skills. Instead of telling Girl Scouts members what to do, she would ask, "What do the girls WANT to do?"9 12
Girl Scouts can earn badges in the areas of art, athletics, citizenship, cooking, first aid, nature and, the Girl Scout way.3 However, Gordon Low explained “This badge is not a reward for something you have done once or for an examination you have passed. Badges are not medals to wear on your sleeve to show what a smart girl you are. A badge is a symbol that you have done the thing it stands for often enough, thoroughly enough, and well enough to BE PREPARED to give service in it. You wear the badge to let people know that you are prepared and willing to be called on because you are a Girl Scout. And Girl Scouting is not just knowing.....but doing.....not just doing, but being.”6
The Girl Scouts started selling cookies around 1917 to not only serve as a fundraiser for troops, but to learn real-life lessons about how money is earned.9
The Girl Scout mission is to build girls of courage, confidence, and character who make the world a better place.2 In line with this mission, a famous quote from Gordon Low is, “Right is right, even if no one else does it.”12
Daisy remained an activist for the Girl Scouts until her death. She discovered she had breast cancer in 1923, but kept it a secret. She died from the final stages of cancer at the age of 66 on January 17, 1927.7 4 She was buried in her girl scout uniform in Laurel Grove Cemetery in Savannah, Georgia.1 5 4
She left a long legacy in her wake. The Girl Scouts organization continues to thrive with millions of Girl Scouts throughout the world and girls who begin scouting from kindergarten to first grade are called “Daisies,” just like Gordon Low was nicknamed. She continues to be remembered over 150 years after she was born with scholarships, camps, and schools named in her honor, in addition to many notable honors including the Presidential Medal of Freedom, being inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame, having a stamp commemorating her, and much more.1
As Gordon Low said herself, “The work of today is the history of tomorrow, and we are its makers."12
- Juliette Gordon Low. Girl Scouts of the United States of America. Retrieved 3/4/2016 from http://www.girlscouts.org/en/about-girl-scouts/our-history/juliette-gordon-low.html
- Our History: The Vision of Juliette Gordon Low. Girl Scouts of the United States of America. Retrieved 3/4/2016 from http://www.girlscouts.org/en/about-girl-scouts/our-history.html
- Traditions. Girl Scouts of the United States of America. Retrieved 3/4/2016 from http://www.girlscouts.org/en/about-girl-scouts/traditions.html
- Juliette Gordon Low. (2014, August 19). New World Encyclopedia. Retrieved 3/4/2016 from http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Juliette_Gordon_Low
- Sims, Anastatia. (2004, June 14). Juliette Gordon Low (1860-1927). New Georgia Encyclopedia. Retrieved 3/4/2016 from http://www.georgiaencyclopedia.org/articles/history-archaeology/juliette-gordon-low-1860-1927
- Biography.com Editors. Juliette Gordon Low Biography. A&E Television Networks: The Biography.com website. Retrieved 3/4/2016 from http://www.biography.com/people/juliette-gordon-low-20766743#final-years-and-legacy
- Cordery, Stacy A. (2012). The Remarkable Founder of the Girl Scouts: Juliette Gordon Low. USA: Penguin Publishing Group. ISBN 9780143122890.
- Brown, Fern G (2014). Daisy and the Girl Scouts: The Story of Juliette Gordon Low. Open Road Media. ISBN 1497635896, 9781497635890.
- Henry Kleiber, Shannon. (2012, March 9). Juliette Gordon Low, who had no children of her own, started Girl Scouts in 1912. The Washington Post. Retrieved 3/4/2016 from https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/kidpost/juliette-gordon-low-who-had-no-children-of-her-own-started-girl-scouts-in-1912/2012/02/28/gIQA5CBO1R_story.html
- Juliette Low. Gallaudet University. Adapted from: Goodstein, A. & Walworth, M. (1979). Interesting Deaf Americans. Washington, DC: Gallaudet University. Retrieved 3/4/2016 from https://www.gallaudet.edu/tip/english-center/reading-(esl)/practice-exercises/juliette-low.html
- Juliette Gordon Low (Last modified: 2016, February 29). Wikimedia Foundation, Inc.: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Retrieved 3/4/2016 from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Juliette_Gordon_Low
- Juliette Low Quotes. Scouting Web: Online Resources for Scouting Volunteers. Retrieved 3/4/2016 from http://www.scoutingweb.com/scoutingweb/subpages/juliettelowquotes.htm
Interpreter Tips | Friday, February 26, 2016
We as interpreters are notorious for not taking care of our bodies. We see lots of Repetitive Motion Injury among colleagues. We spend a lot of time in our cars. We may develop unhealthy habits (eating fast food or a lack of exercise). In a profession where the primary focus is other people, we need to keep ourselves healthy.
Here are 6 tips for how Interpreters can stay healthy:
1. Make Priorities
- Learn to say no to things.
- Take time out of your schedule for yourself.
- Use a calendar, such as Google Calendar, to plan ahead.
2. Stay Rested
- Regular sleep. Set a bedtime.
- Take catnaps.
- Take time to clear your head (ex: meditate for 15 minutes).
3. Eat Smarter
- Add more fruits and vegetables to your diet.
- Drink lots of water.
- Pack your lunch.
- Keep healthy snacks in your car or bag.
- Carry a water bottle.
- Take a multi-vitamin daily.
4. Stay Active
- Sign up for an exercise class or a race.
- Go for a walk. Or better yet take your dog for a walk.
- Join a gym.
- Do stretching exercises before you interpret.
5. Be Social
- Keep in touch with friends.
- Meet a friend for coffee (or a smoothie) every week.
- Spend time with family.
6. Be Mindful
- Read for pleasure.
- Listen to music.
- Keep a journal.
- Volunteer somewhere, anywhere.
We regularly help others as part of our job, but in order to be truly effective we need to take care of ourselves. Adopting these strategies will help you be healthier, happier, and more balanced.
What are your tricks for staying healthy? Share your thoughts in the comments below.