An ASL DictionarySigning 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 signs, build word lists and share them with others, create digital flash cards and quizzes, view asl sentences, get tutoring, ...and more
Sign of the Day - CONVERSATION
(as in talk to someone in sign language)
This article is part of a series, which answers sign questions from people who use Signing Savvy.
Signing Savvy - Please help!
I am trying to find a way to teach my child a scripture verse from one of her school lessons, but I cannot find signs for some of the words. The scripture is Psalm 139:14. The words are FEARFULLY and WONDERFULLY. Fearfully would mean in awe or awesomely made. I’m not sure how to teach her this one. Wonderfully I am guessing would be the same as wonderful. Are there different signs for these to words?
There are so many layers here! The first problem in translation is that it has to be something that makes sense to a child.
The second is that this phrase is in the passive voice - it's the “mistakes were made,” rather than “I made a mistake.”
So, how would we interpret “mistakes were made”? I would sign SOMEONE MISTAKE or TRUE MISTAKE (as in yes, there were mistakes) or perhaps TRUE MISTAKE HAPPEN.
This is also one of my favorite verses in the Bible - I use it all the time as assurance for people who are in the hospital, hurt or broken... God made these amazing bodies that have enormous capacity to heal and fight for life.
I also love that this verse is used as the "proof text" for two traditionally oppositional groups - those who have pro-life convictions reference it as witness that the body is a precious creation, even as it is formed in the womb, and the LGBTQ+ community references it as witness that they are created whole and correct and perfectly and wonderfully, too.
Here it is in context:
13 For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
Verse 13 has its own translation challenges, but to focus on interpreting, not translating verse 14 in response to the question, I would combine 'fearfully' and 'wonderfully' by expanding WONDERFUL into MIRACLE (WONDER+WORK) and would sign MY BODY YOUR (to God) MIRACLE.
I don't know if that is a perfect answer, but as I continue to play with it, I like it.
The start of this school year has been different for many teachers, with new challenges and new ways to deliver learning to students. Whether you are teaching online, in-person, or a hybrid method, our team is here to help teachers with sign language resources for your students and classes.
We’ve pulled together a Teacher Resources page with tips to help you add content from Signing Savvy to your classes, including:
- A getting started video that will walk teachers through the features of the site and explains how to use Signing Savvy with your classes.
- Videos on how to put tools from Signing Savvy into your Learning Management System.
- A step-by-step walkthrough of how to create and manage word lists of signs.
- A check list of tools to integrate into your class.
- Template letters you can use to send home to your students explaining that you are now using Signing Savvy in your class.
- Plus, many more tips for you on our new Teacher Resources page.
Teachers that have traditionally taught their courses in a face to face format have encountered an extra challenge during the COVID-19 time period. Whether you are an elementary teacher working with deaf children, a high school teacher meeting the foreign language requirement through American Sign Language, or working at the college or university level teaching ASL or interpreter training, Signing Savvy can be an amazing resource to get your students the information they need in order to continue their learning while NOT directly in front of you.
After teaching American Sign Language online for many years, I’ve found many useful ways to use online tools, like Signing Savvy, to make the transition to online easier.
Here are some tips on how to put educational resources online.
Develop your curriculum
The first thing you need to do is to develop the curriculum for your course. For my courses, my curriculum is developed from a combination of materials on Signing Savvy, one or more textbooks, and my own teaching experience and expertise. See our recent article, "Creating Lessons Using Word Lists", for more details on this step.
Setup your course in a CMS
The next thing you need to do is to get your course up and running in an online Course Management System (CMS) such as Canvas, Moodle, Blackboard, Angel, or D2L. Your institution likely has adopted a CMS for use at your institution. In the CMS you will put your course outline/syllabus, assignments, lectures, and resources. Basically the CMS will reflect your curriculum (aka, lesson plan) from day-to-day, week-to-week.
Require a Signing Savvy Membership
Given that my courses are fully online, I require the students to sign up for a Signing Savvy membership, either instead of or in addition to purchasing a textbook. By having the students have a membership, they will have full access to everything on Signing Savvy with no limitations or advertisements. Further, they will be able to take advantage of the quizzing and flashcard features, not to mention the ability to create their own word lists for studying. Full membership also gives students the ability to use the Signing Savvy Member App directly on their smartphones and tablets for a more streamlined experience.
Integrating Signing Savvy into your course
Signing Savvy has many great resources and tools that can be integrated into the flow of your classroom. The simplist way to integrate Signing Savvy into your CMS is to add links directly to the content on Signing Savvy. For example, if you want to link directly to a dictionary word on Signing Savvy, just search for the word on Signing Savvy, copy the URL from the browser, and paste the link into the appropriate place in your CMS. You can do the same for word lists, articles, sentences, or basically anything on Signing Savvy. The students can then easily follow the link from your course into the content on Signing Savvy. I typically create a Signing Savvy word list for each lesson, but you can find more details on how I set that up in article I already mentioned, "Creating Lessons Using Word Lists".
Adding your own video lectures
In addition to the content directly on Signing Savvy, I often create a prerecorded video to kick-off each class. The video is prerecorded on my laptop using a tool such as Camtasia, Screenflow, or Open Broadcaster Software. I use the camera built into my laptop, though you could purchase a USB web camera if you don't have one built in. For the video itself, I often record both myself and my screen.
When I am signing my weekly intro, or any material to supplement the main vocabulary for the lesson, I make sure the video clearly shows my upper torso with some signing space, so signs can be properly recorded and displayed within the constrains of the camera viewport. Being well lit with a motionless, non-cluttered background increases the quality of the video and the ease of seeing signs.
I use Signing Savvy for the main vocabulary for the lesson each week. You could easily link directly to any word lists you have created for the lesson and not add additional commentary on the vocabulary. However, I do this extra step. I create a walkthrough of the learning materials (word lists and signs) we are using that class. I literally will click through the materials I have setup in my CMS, as well as follow links to Signing Savvy, to sign the sign I want the students to learn and also show it on Signing Savvy and highlight any notable items from Signing Savvy like the memory aid, sign synonyms, or sign variations. When I am walking through Signing Savvy, I use the picture-in-picture video format to display my computer screen in the main window, but I also include video of myself, often shown in the upper right hand corner, to provide a personal touch. It helps the student know who I am and relate to me. But, the primary content is shown in the screen recording. When I am signing, I make sure to change the focus of the main video window back to me so the signing can be clearly seen. Since I put all links to Signing Savvy within the CMS, the students can follow along OR go back later to dig in deeper and/or review the materials.
Your CMS or institution may have a prefered way to upload and host videos, such as YouTube or Kaltura MediaSpace. Many ASL courses are voice-off, but if you include audio, make sure when you record that your environment is quiet except for your voice. You should ALWAYS include captions of any spoken audio for accessibility. Many of the video hosting services, such as YouTube, will automatically caption the video. It usually does a pretty good job, but it is important to check it. If there are issues, you can use their tools to modify the captions.
Face-to-face with Video Conferencing
In addition to the tools Signing Savvy provides, as you bring your course online, you can maintain some face-to-face interaction remotely via video conferencing. Video conferencing allows you to connect with your students either one-on-one or to the entire class at one time. Zoom or Skype are popular video conferencing solutions. I have personally used Zoom in my online college classes. I have used it both to deliver instruction, converse with students, and test students expressive signing skills in one-on-one exams. You can also encourage students to partner up and practice signing to each other through video conferencing software or something like FaceTime.
Practice Signing with Native Signers
If you are looking for your students to gain additional experience with communicating in sign language as part of your course, the Savvy Tutoring and Savvy Chat services may help. These services provide the student with 30 minutes of either structured or unstructured, one-on-one signing time with a native signer. Savvy Tutoring is particularly good to help students prepare for an upcoming exam. (NOTE: There is an additional cost for ASL one-on-one sessions.)
We know the idea of teaching an American Sign Language class or anything using sign, (that is normally better conveyed face to face) is very daunting right now for many, but it CAN be done. We have many tools to help.
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