An ASL Dictionary

Signing Savvy is a sign language dictionary containing several thousand high resolution videos of American Sign Language (ASL) signs, fingerspelled words, and other common signs used within the United States and Canada.

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Signing Savvy is an ideal resource to use while you learn sign language. It includes the ability to view large sign videos, build your own word lists and share them with others, create virtual flash cards and quizzes, print signs, build sign phrases, ...and more

Sign of the Day - DEAF SCHOOL

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5 Tips for Creating a Language Rich Environment for Deaf Children Through Routines and Consistency

5 Tips for Creating a Language Rich Environment for Deaf Children Through Routines and Consistency

Learning Tips   |  Monday, October 5, 2015

By John Miller

Deaf adults who grew up in hearing families often talk about their lives as young children being a blur because they never knew what was happening or why. Being herded around and gestured to without proper communication are commonly reported.

You may have heard the old saying, "chaos breads discontent." It’s true. Children thrive on a routine and consistency in their lives.  For many young children, the beginning of their school career is the first time they are exposed to a schedule and have to follow a routine. The transition may be difficult in the beginning, but before long most children have settled into this new way of life and feel comfortable because the routine helps them to know what to expect.

The same thing holds true for deaf children, maybe even more so. Many deaf children are born into families where communication is a struggle and if the household lacks routine, the child may have more difficulties understanding what’s going on. This is where routines and consistency will be helpful for them. Routines and consistency also help with reinforcing language and vocabulary learning, as well as concept development.

Here are 5 tips to help with creating a language rich environment through routine and consistency:

1. Eat at the dinner table with the family as often as possible.

Set a realistic goal of eating dinner together as often as you can. While at the dinner table, take advantage of the "captive audience" by asking questions and getting them talking/signing.

2. Read at least one book a night to your child.

Read at least one book a night even if in the beginning it only consists of looking through the book and doing signs here and there for the various pictures. You can create wordlists on Signing Savvy to go along with the books to help you and your child learn the signs from the book. Your child’s teacher can help with this also.

Also see our article on Tips for Reading with Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children

3. Communicate daily with your child’s teacher.

If your child is in school (or daycare), ask the teacher for topics discussed and activities conducted each day so that you can review them with your child before bed. This is great example of an activity to help expand you and your child's vocabulary.  Signing Savvy's ability to look up signs and create shared word lists, especially if done in collaboration with the teacher, can assist with this routine.

4. Create a schedule with signs. 

Creating a schedule helps to give your deaf child a clear idea of what will be happening throughout their day. When creating the schedule, include  pictures, words, and signs (you can print signs from Signing Savvy).

Create a schedule for a consistent routine

Signing Savvy Member Feature: Download this image / flyer as a printable PDF page.

5. Have your child write about their day.

Have your child keep a special notebook or journal where they write about their day. "Writing" in the journal can consist of pictures, words, signs, and/or shadow writing through parents as helpers. This is a great way to create memories, brainstorm things to talk about, and go back to read what they wrote so they can reflect on their week. The journal can also be shown and shared with others. 

To get started, any notebook will do, but if you are looking for a journal with questions and prompts to help get your child writing and doodling, here are some you could try.

Starter Journals for Younger Children (4 - 8 years old):

My Book About Me

Draw & Write Children's Journal

Doodle Books for tweens and teens (8 - 16 years old):

Doodle Diary: Art Journaling for Girls

Doodle Sketchbook: Art Journaling for Boys

The key with any of these suggestions is to be consistent. Consistent, predictable routines with language can help make their world a "clearer" one.

Signing Savvy is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking signingsavvy.com to Amazon properties. That means Signing Savvy may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase after clicking on an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but Signing Savvy will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated and helps us continue to improve Signing Savvy!

 

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What to Pack in Your Interpreter Bag

What to Pack in Your Interpreter Bag

Interpreter Tips   |  Wednesday, September 23, 2015

By Brenda Cartwright

This article is by Brenda Cartwright. Brenda is a seasoned interpreter, a master teacher, and well known presenter. Brenda is the author of the Dear Reality column in the VIEWS publication from Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID) and the book Encounters With Reality: 1001 Interpreter Scenarios. She will be contributing blog articles for Signing Savvy on interpreting, Deaf culture, and answering a series of "Dear BC" interpreter questions.

Freelance interpreters may find themselves going from a college class in Physics to a hospital emergency room to a theatrical performance all in one day and even when we think we are prepared, "things happen."

The instructor decides to show a non-captioned film and turns out all the lights. The ever-prepared interpreter pulls out their handy dandy flashlight.

The warden at the prison goes above and beyond to ensure your safety behind his walls and you want to leave him a quick thank you note. Pull out your stationary and envelope and write away.

You're at an all day hospital assignment with a deaf patient waiting for the doctor to come in to discuss test results. The nursing staff has no idea when that will be, "sometime soon," they keep saying. The patient is sleeping, so you pull out your phone to check messages. Unfortunately your battery is deader than a door nail. You look around the room and it seems like every outlet in the room is already being used. Tech savvy interpreter that you are, you pull out your wall adapter and viola! You are now able to share an outlet and touch base with your agency.

You stop for lunch after what you think is your last assignment for the day and have the most delicious veggie sandwich (heavy on the onions) when you get a call from an interpreter referral agency asking you if you have time this afternoon for one more job.‎ "Sure" you say, as you pull out your toothbrush, toothpaste and extra strength mouthwash.

You have an umbrella in your interpreter bag so you are prepared for the rain but the walk to the actual assignment is much further than you anticipated. By the time you arrive, your shoes are soaked and squeaking, but lucky you - you happen to have a dry pair of socks in your bag. What a difference dry socks can make. (Also see our related article on Interpreter Q & A: Is It Better to Be Late or Wet?)

Don’t let surprises ruin your day, pack these items in your interpreter bag so you can be prepared for whatever life brings your way:


Plan for the unexpected.


Be fresh.


Rejuvenate.


Stay heathy.


Be prepared.


Look professional.


Don’t forget to bring the essentials:

  • phone (in addition to being your way to communicate via call/text/email/video, your phone is your calendar, contacts, and entertainment)
  • phone charger
  • ID
  • business card
  • money / credit card

TIP: Items that come in "kits," such as an office supply kit, sewing kit, fresh breath kit, nail kit, and/or first aid kit, are great because they are self-contained - making it easier to stay organized and find things in your bag.

See our Buying Guide: What to Pack in Your Interpreter Bag for tips on where to buy items for your interpreter bag.

What to pack in your interpreter bag

Signing Savvy Member Feature: Download this image / flyer as a printable PDF page.

Signing Savvy is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking signingsavvy.com to Amazon properties. That means Signing Savvy may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase after clicking on an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but Signing Savvy will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated and helps us continue to improve Signing Savvy!

 

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About the Author

Brenda CartwrightBrenda Cartwright is a seasoned interpreter, a master teacher, well known presenter, and author of several best selling sign language and interpreting textbooks from the RID Press. For the last 30 years Brenda has been the Chair of the Sign Language Interpreter Program at Lansing Community College in Lansing, Michigan.

More about BC  |  Articles by BC

Buying Guide: What to Pack in Your Interpreter Bag

Buying Guide: What to Pack in Your Interpreter Bag

Interpreter Tips   |  Tuesday, September 22, 2015

By Jillian Winn

You’ve probably seen many articles on Signing Savvy by the amazing Brenda Cartwright - she’s a seasoned interpreter, a master teacher, well known presenter, and author of several best selling sign language books. She came up with this great guide of what to pack in your interpreter bag, so when she told us she was giving the keynote address at the Illinois’ Annual Statewide Interpreter Conference, we wanted to show some love to the interpreters by send a few fully stocked interpreter bags with her for giveaways.

I did all the shopping for these bags, so I thought I would pass along tips for finding and buying the items. I went to several stores when shopping for these bags - Dollar Store, Five Below, Target, Rite Aid, Office Max, Home Depot, Meijer, and Amazon. So, I can save you a few trips by telling you where I found the best items and the best deals! Of course, the availability in your local stores may vary (products in stores like the Dollar Store and Five Below vary by location and season).

Of course, if you just want fast and easy, you can get everything from Amazon (there is a link to every item on Amazon) and if you have Amazon Prime you get unlimited free 2-day shipping (I have to admit we have a bit of an Amazon addiction in our house - you just can't beat free 2 day shipping when you need something fast!). But it really makes more sense (in terms of quantities and price) to buy some items in your local stores (unless you really want a case of gum instead of a single stick!).


Tip: Buy Kits

         

Items that come in "kits," such as an office supply kit, sewing kit, fresh breath kit, nail kit, and/or first aid kit, are great because they are self-contained - making it easier to stay organized and find things in your bag. Plus, many times kits that include several items are cheaper when purchased as a kit, versus purchasing each item separately. Of course, you should make sure you really want the items in the kit, because a kit doesn’t make sense when you really only want one of the items.

For example, the office supply kit I found includes a mini stapler and was the same price or cheaper than buying a mini stapler by itself (and the kit also included rubber bands, paper clips, tape, sticky notes, AND had it all in a cute case so you’re not digging to the bottom of your bag looking for a paper clip). The only negative of this kit is that everything is miniature sized and you could find higher quality items if you purchased them individually, but I was looking for something inexpensive and small to fit in the bag - it’s just for use on-the-go and not meant to replace full-sized supplies from your office.


Found at the Dollar Store

      

You gotta love the Dollar Store! You can't go wrong with paying $1... at least most of the time.  Sometimes, there are items that you can actually get for under $1 other places. For example, the pack of travel Kleenex that I got at Target for $2 was a better deal than the $1 pack of travel Kleenex at the Dollar Store because it had more than double the number of Kleenex packages in it (though the Dollar Store Kleenex were fun colors!).


Found at Five Below

  • small umbrella
    We really wanted an umbrella for the bag, but wanted to keep the price down. Umbrella’s can be really pricey! I looked several places for a $5 umbrella and lucked out at Five Below. Home Depot also had a good deal on tall, walking-stick type umbrellas for only $5 (I actually bought one to keep in my car - it is really large, so it can cover me and the kiddos in the rain), but they were too large to put in the bag (although they were tempting!). Five Below had plain colored umbrellas, which was just what I was looking for. They also had fun collegiate umbrellas, which I would have gotten if it was for myself (if I hadn’t already bought the umbrella from Home Depot!), but I figured interpreters in Illinois might not appreciate non-Illinois, college-themed umbrellas! The Five Below umbrellas are great little umbrellas that get the job done if you are just dashing from your car to a building. The negative (and positive) to these umbrellas is that they are inexpensive... but that means they aren’t going to survive high winds or last a lifetime. If you’re looking for a reliable umbrella that can really weather the storm, you might want to invest in a better quality (and more expensive) umbrella.
  • small bag
    It’s recommended that interpreters don’t wear jewelry while interpreting, so a small bag with a few pockets that can serve the dual purpose of holding any jewelry you may have on while you work and organizing other items in your bag is a great find. Five Below had these great little “pencil” bags in the school section that were great because they were small, had multiple pockets, and were transparent so you can easily see into the bag to find your stuff. The link to Amazon is the same bag. (This was significantly cheaper at Five Below than other stores.)
  • mini flashlight
    The mini flashlights at Five Below seemed to be better quality than those I found at the Dollar Store.


Found at Target

            


Found at Amazon

  • office supply kit - rubber bands, stapler, staples, paper clips, tape, sticky notes
    I found this cute office supply kit at Target, but they only sell pink ones at Target and I didn’t want pink for our interpreter bag. So then I was on the hunt for a non-pink office supply kit. I found others, like the one at Target but in other colors, directly from the manufacturer - Yoobi, which seems to be a cool company because similar to Toms, they have the mission of “one for you, one for me” (that's what their company name Yoobi stands for) where for every item purchased they donate an item to a classroom in need in the U.S. However, I was under a deadline and couldn’t wait for standard shipping, so I headed to Amazon where I knew I could get free 2 day shipping through Amazon Prime. Luckily I found an office supply kit on Amazon and it was even less expensive - mission accomplished! 
  • blank note card
    In my not-so-free time, I occasionally design invitations and thank you cards for close friends, so I am very familiar with the cost of stock paper and note cards. These note cards are a great value - I haven’t been able to find a better price for blank note cards and envelopes anywhere (and I've shopped around!). They are great to use as a base if you are crafty or have kiddos who like to draw or paint, and they are also good just as a plain, simple, no-frills blank card.
  • refillable water bottle
    If they had a support group for people who collected too many refillable water bottles, I’m pretty sure my best friends PJ and Todd would hold an intervention and enroll us. They were over one night for dinner and opened the cabinet to get a glass for water and saw our collection of refillable water bottles on the top shelf and asked if we were stocking up for the zombie apocalypse. (The first step is admitting you have a problem.) At any rate, not just any water bottle will do! We’ve accumulated plenty of refillable water bottles from conferences, swag from other companies, and on our search for the best water bottle, but most of them get freecycled or sent to Goodwill. The one type of refillable water bottle that we love (and collect) are the Contigo AUTOSEAL® bottles. After long nights with our babies, we found that regular glasses didn’t mix well with our sleepy delirium and the Contigo AUTOSEAL® bottles were a lifesaver (or rather - carpet, floor, and clothing saver). The autoseal mechanism in the caps are pure genius because liquid never leaks. We have tried and (liked) the AUTOSEAL® Cortland Water Bottle, AUTOSEAL® Madison Water Bottle, AUTOSEAL® Kangaroo Water Bottle with Pocket, and AUTOSPOUT® Flip Chill Kids Water Bottle. They are all great, but we prefer the Cortland because the mouth is slightly wider than the Madison and the Kangaroo (so it’s easier to put ice in it). The Flip Chill is perfect for kids - it keeps liquids cold for a long time and our 2 year old loves it - a no-spill top is a necessity for a 2 year old! (It's not Contigo, but if you're looking for a non-plastic sippy cup, I really like the Eco Vessel Insulated Sippy). I also tried the Contigo Purity Glass Water Bottle, but I really missed not having the autoseal lid and the opening is a little too small for my liking... so the search for the perfect glass water bottle is still on! And really, although I tell everyone I know about my love for the Contigo bottles, Contigo did not send us money or free water bottles - but they should! :-) - we just really like their Autoseal water bottles. Signing Savvy just purchased Contigo AUTOSEAL® Cortland Water Bottles with the Signing Savvy logo on them - of course I’m excited about that!!

Now, you know more than you need to know about where to shop for your own interpreter bag! See all of the items in our infographic below.

What to pack in your interpreter bag

Signing Savvy Member Feature: Download this image / flyer as a printable PDF page.

Signing Savvy is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking signingsavvy.com to Amazon properties. That means Signing Savvy may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase after clicking on an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but Signing Savvy will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated and helps us continue to improve Signing Savvy!

 

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Deaf Awareness Week 2015

Deaf Culture   |  Sunday, September 20, 2015

By Jillian Winn

Deaf Awareness Week this year is September 21-27, 2015. Deaf Awareness Week, also called International Week of the Deaf (IWD), is celebrated annually and ends with International Day of the Deaf on the last Sunday of September. Deaf Awareness Week is celebrated by national and regional associations of the deaf, local communities, and individuals worldwide.

The purpose of Deaf Awareness Week is to increase public awareness of deaf issues, people, and culture.  Activities and events throughout Deaf Awareness Week encourage individuals to come together as a community for both educational events and celebrations. Find more information on Deaf Awareness Week.

Since 2009, the World Federation of the Deaf has created themes for International Week of the Deaf. The theme for 2015 is “With Sign Language Rights, Our Children Can!” Find out more about the 2015 International Week of the Deaf.

 

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New Program Helps Build ASL-to-English Search Feature While Helping You Learn and Study ASL

New Program Helps Build ASL-to-English Search Feature While Helping You Learn and Study ASL

Site News   |  Wednesday, September 9, 2015

By Jillian Winn

What’s that sign mean?

Have you ever seen a sign and wondered what it was, but wasn’t sure how to look it up? Signing Savvy is a great resource for looking up signs, but you have to type in an English word and then you can see the sign(s) for that word. We don’t currently have the ability to type in a description of a sign and then tell you the English meaning for that sign… but we hope to in the future!

Signing Savvy has partnered with researchers at the University of Washington who are doing a study to build data so an ASL-to-English dictionary feature could be possible. The technology they are testing is called ASL-Flash. When you use ASL-Flash, you see a sign and enter its features. The ASL-Flash website then learns the varied features that somebody might see when viewing a sign, which will help improve the quality of results returned in future searches by other users.

Use ASL-Flash to practice ASL and as a study tool for class

ASL-Flash makes learning and practicing ASL easy. All videos come from Signing Savvy. It shows you sign videos and quizzes you on the meaning. If you are taking an ASL class and using either of the Signing Naturally or Master ASL! textbooks, you can use the site to quiz yourself on the chapter you’re studying. In addition to being quizzed on the meaning of signs, you describe what the sign looked like. Not only is it a helpful study tool, but by describing signs through the ASL-Flash website you also help the research project at the University of Washington to build the data needed to create an ASL-to-English search feature.

It’s an easy and free tool to use. Use ASL-Flash to practice sign language, study signs from your course textbooks, and help us build the ASL-to-English search of the future! Get started now at www.aslflash.org

ASL Flash Explained

 

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