Blog Articles by JOHN MILLER

Setting Up People, Places and Things

Setting Up People, Places and Things

By John Miller  |  Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The use of space is a very important feature in American Sign Language. The way to be able to refer back to different people, places or things (referents) is to use the space around the signer. You do this by setting up the space. This is done in a three dimensional manner. It can be done in the space to the left or right of the signer, in front of the signer, in a semi-circle around ...
Making signs plural or in the past tense

Making signs plural or in the past tense

By John Miller  |  Wednesday, July 14, 2010

We have received several emails asking how to make signed words plural or showing if something happened in the past, as well as having emphasis to show desire. There are a few different ways to do this: One way to show an emphasis or plurals is to repeat the sign. For example, if you are wanting to say “He wants that really bad!” You would sign WANT+WANT+THAT+HE. That double use of the sign want shows that he really wants ...
Fourth of July Signing Celebration!

Fourth of July Signing Celebration!

By John Miller  |  Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Signing Savvy wants to help celebrate Independence Day by offering a 7/4 celebration. You get a SEVEN-day trial membership FOR-FREE!Check out the membership features like LARGE video, ability to build your own word lists (and view other members' shared word lists), quiz yourselves, as well as the one of a kind print feature! To access your trial, login to your account (or create a registered guest account if you do not have one) and go to the trial offer page. Happy ...
Social Networking with Signing Savvy

Social Networking with Signing Savvy

By John Miller  |  Tuesday, June 1, 2010

We recently added several links to social networking sites to both help the world learn more about Signing Savvy AND to help build a community around the users of Signing Savvy site. Currently, you can access us on: We are using YouTube to get out video tutorials on the features of the site. If you have not watched them, I highly recommend you check them out to make sure you are taking full advantage of the features the site offers. We ...
How do I get my signs to flow together so that I don't look choppy when I am signing?

How do I get my signs to flow together so that I don't look choppy when I am signing?

By John Miller  |  Friday, April 30, 2010

As a beginning signer, it is just natural that you will be choppy. Once you get a larger sign vocabulary, you will not be so worried about searching for a way to say something that you know the signs for and you will be able to focus on the flow of your signs. When you sign music it also helps with the flow if you let the music guide you. There are a few different sites on the internet ...
How long until I am a fluent signer?

How long until I am a fluent signer?

By John Miller  |  Friday, April 30, 2010

Many people often ask me this question. That is really a hard one to answer because everyone's rate of learning a new language varies greatly. The motivation behind the learning is going to be a key factor as well as the opportunity to actually practice what you are learning with multiple signers. It is important to practice signing with, and reading from, many signers as you learn so you don't just get used to the way one particular person ...
Take Them Shopping!

Take Them Shopping!

By John Miller  |  Thursday, April 15, 2010

Earlier, I discussed how I used cooking as a classroom activity to engage my students in sign language education. Well if you cook, you have to shop! Each week the students and I would pour over cookbooks picking out a recipe that might go along with a particular theme that we were studying at that time, such as traditional Thanksgiving foods in November, Valentine's cookies in February, etc... Sometimes it might just be something that sounded tasty. From that ...
Tips for Reading Fingerspelling

Tips for Reading Fingerspelling

By John Miller  |  Saturday, March 13, 2010

Many people talk to me about their frustrations with fingerspelling and want suggestions on how to improve their receptive skills when it comes to reading fingerspelling. My suggestions tend to follow a lot of the same rules that apply to teaching a child to read: Practice, practice, pratice...the more you work on reading other people's fingerspelling, the better you will get. Everyone's fingers are different so it is important to practice with many different partners in order to experience all the ...
Children love to cook!

Children love to cook!

By John Miller  |  Sunday, March 7, 2010

They just do! I often used cooking as a teaching tool the classroom. Once my students got the skills in place through our dramatic play (described earlier), we would do cooking activities in the classroom and invite others in to join us and taste our creations. While cooking, we would again use our digital camera to document the steps in the process. We would print off these photos later and have the students put them in order (sequencing) and add ...
Using Figurative Language with Sign

Using Figurative Language with Sign

By John Miller  |  Thursday, February 25, 2010

Many people have asked how to sign things that say one thing but mean something else. This happens a lot in the English Language! Some Examples: It's raining cats and dogs!, or You look really sharp today. Now as native users of the English language, we know that neither cats or dogs are falling from the skies .nor is the person in the second sentence looking rather pointed. These are concepts that people who are learning English as a ...