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.

And Much More!

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 - COOK
(as in verb, to cook)

Blog Articles by: John Miller

Dramatic Play

Teaching Tips   |  Sunday, January 17, 2010

By John Miller

Dramatic play is such an underrated way for children to learn. I had so much fun interacting with my preschool deaf children and watching how they would communicate through dramatic play. It opened the doors for so many teaching/learning opportunities.

One of my favorites was making restaurant menus including all the plastic play food we had in our dramatic play kitchens and creating our own cafe. The pages would include a digital photo of the food along with a printed version of the sign and then the price. These were all laminated and bound together with a spiral binder. With this we would play restaurant for hours working on such skills as following directions, using our manners to ask questions and treat people politely, table manners, proper nutrition, even math skills as we added up the bills and made change using a calculator. I seriously had some of my 1st graders making change and even leaving a tip! They never saw this as teaching...they were playing...AND LEARNING!

 

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Signs, Signs, EVERYWHERE!

Teaching Tips   |  Friday, December 11, 2009

By John Miller

In many preschool or early childhood classes you walk into the room and you see the written words for different objects around the room everywhere. A chair has the word CHAIR on it, the cupboards are marked with the words PUZZLES, GAMES, PAINT etc... to indicate their contents, all in an effort to teach the children the written words for the different objects from their environment that they interact with everyday.

To teach signs, do the same thing! You can leave the written words in place and just add the printed signs from Signing Savvy along side them. You will be amazed at how quickly the students start knowing and using the signs of the objects they interact with daily.

 

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Conceptually Correct Signs

Learning Tips   |  Friday, November 13, 2009

By John Miller

Consider the following sentences:

I won’t stand for this!

You need to stand up please.

This flag stands for freedom.

In each of these statements the word STAND is used. It is spelled the exact same way, pronounced the exact same way, yet it has VERY different meanings in each of it’s uses above.

Now one form of sign language, Signing Exact English, would tell you to sign the word STAND the same in all three sentences because of their 2 out of 3 rule. (If the word is spelled the same and pronounced the same, then you can sign it the same.) Our philosophy here at Signing Savvy, DOES NOT endorse that way of thinking. We feel that signing things conceptually correct is EXTREMELY important! This is one of the big differences between American Sign Language (ASL) and Signed Exact English.

With that said….let us look back at the three example sentences listed above.

I won’t stand (put up with, or accept) this!

You need to stand (to stand up) up please.

This flag stands (represents) for freedom.

You would want to sign the sentences using the meanings of the words. Those meanings are found in the parenthesis. The sentences that come off the lips would still be using the word STAND but the sign would correspond with the meaning.

Just a quick note about the Signing Savvy Phrase Builder - the phrase builder doesn’t have the intelligence to know what the true conceptual meaning of the words you typed in the search box are. It will simply give you the first variation of the sign for the word you entered. However, you can modify the resulting sign video using the tools in the phrase builder (see the video on the phrase builder for details).

Please consider this, and make sure your phrases are conceptually correct, when you are using the phrase builder OR translating from English to ASL on your own. Happy Signing! John.

 

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The Guy in the Blue Shirt

Site News   |  Thursday, November 5, 2009

By John Miller

My name is John. Yes, I am the guy in the blue shirt shown in the videos on Signing Savvy. Since the launch of the Signing Savvy site last January, I have had several people ask me about my background.

I learned to sign at a young age, not because I was deaf, but because I had a deaf neighbor and friend who I wanted to communicate more effectively with. From this point forward, learning to sign and communication issues became a fascination of mine.

I began my college education in an interpreter training program but quickly realized my passion was in education. After I graduated from college with a bachelors degree in Deaf Education, I became a teacher of children who were Deaf and Hard of Hearing. After 12 years in the classroom, I was asked by my university mentor to return to the university, pursue a graduate degree, and share my years of experience from the classroom with the next generation of teachers studying in the field.

During this time I worked with my mentor on sign language research across the United States and Canada. I earned a Masters in Early Childhood Education. I continue to pursue my doctoral studies in Special Education focussing on literacy issues related to Deafness.

After five years of teaching and studying at the university, I returned to public education. In addition to my work with Signing Savvy, I currently work as an administrator and consultant for Deaf Education Programs in a number of school districts.

Working with Deaf and Hard of Hearing children was and continues to be extremely rewarding. Happy Signing!

 

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Teaching Babies to Sign

Teaching Tips   |  Saturday, September 19, 2009

By John Miller

Research has shown that a child's muscles in the hands and fingers develop at a faster rate than those in the mouth and jaw. Basically this shows us that a child is better equipped at a young age to sign before they can speak. Because of this many people are choosing to teach their infants to use sign language as an early form of communication. It has been known to cut down on the amount of frustration on the part of an infant trying to communicate with their parents/caregivers.

Many people's questions then are: "How do we teach a young child to sign (deaf or hearing) in a way that is fun and productive?"

My answer: Through play! I had the pleasure of watching a young, 3-year-old, deaf child play yesterday while I met with her teacher and parents during a yearly meeting for the child's education. I watched this cute little preschooler interacting rather naturally with the toys in the dramatic play area (toy kitchen, doctor kit, etc…). She was using the play microwave and placing the plastic food on a plate and "warming it up" for us. Using one hand to punch the keys on the keypad as she counted off the numbers with the other. Then she took the spaghetti out of the microwave telling us to be CAREFUL and to wait because it was HOT. The teacher prompted the child to tell us what the food was that was on the plate, to which the child answered SPAGHETTI rather matter-a-factly!

The child went to play for a good 30 minutes giving us each SHOTS from her doctor kit and telling us not to CRY, etc…. The language used and expressed by this child was amazing and it was all done through play!

Signing Savvy can help with this educational/play experience by using the printing options to create word cards for you to use at home during your play with your child. By having the food signs printed on cards that can be exchanged when you "order your food" and having the child match up the sign to the food, a child will become familiar with the signs for the toys they interact with daily. Create a menu that not only has the food signs on it but some common phrases like, "Can I take your order?" or "Thank you, please come again".

Have fun with it….you'll be amazed how quickly your child (and you) will be using sign throughout your playful day!

 

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