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 - PILOT

Blog Articles by: John Miller

What Happened in School Today?

Teaching Tips   |  Sunday, January 24, 2010

By John Miller

How frustrating it must be as a parent to have your deaf child come home and have no idea what has just happened to them for the last seven hours. The child may do their best to communicate their day but many of them have JUST learned the vocabulary themselves and reproducing them once they get home for mom and dad is difficult to say the least.

One idea that I used that was very successful was a daily journal that consisted of digital pictures of activities that happened throughout the day. I would keep a large piece of white construction paper up on the easel near our calendar area. We would begin writing on it during our daily calendar time. As we went through calendar, we would write the date and the weather on the top of that paper. Then as different activities happened throughout our day, a picture would be printed off and would appear on the paper. The students would then have to assists in adding a caption to the picture describing IN WORDS what the class was doing in the pictures.

Besides being a nice way of teaching the concept of summarizing, we had a communication tool that went between home and school. At the end of the day, that large piece of paper was set on the copy machine and reduced in size to about 60 percent. This made the page large enough to still read, yet much small enough to carry home. The students had assisted in the creation of the captions, and now they had a visual aid to help with their retelling of their day.

A Signing Savvy addition would be to print 3-5 signs from the day and include them with the paper. This way both the students and their parents would have instant access to these signs and will be able to use them in the discussion of the day's events.

 

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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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