All About American Sign Language

Jaimi Lard signs with a Grafton school system nurse during presentation to the Grafton School nurses on Tuesday October 31, 2017

Jaimi Lard signs with a Grafton school system nurse during presentation to the Grafton School nurses on Tuesday October 31, 2017.

May 1, 2020

Boston University’s Deaf Education Library

Boston University students and professors compiled a database of resources to assist deaf and hard of hearing learners at home. The library features a wide range of resources that encourage and promote the use of American Sign Language while learners are at home, including literature in American Sign Language, lessons, and teaching materials.

COVID Resources in ASL

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services has a web page featuring videos that are in ASL and captioned regarding COVID-19.

The Decibels Foundation Remote Learning Resources

A list of resources and supports for families of children who are deaf and at home due to COVID-19.

MECDHH/Mackworth Island Preschool Youtube Channel

The Mackworth Island Preschool has created a youtube channel with stories, child-friendly information about COVID-19, and vocabulary, all in ASL!

Maine Educational Center for the Deaf Youtube Channel

This youtube channel features videos of an American Sign Language instructor teaching different ASL signs!

Resources in Spanish (recursos en español)

Family Sign Language: Lessons 1-4 (Spanish) (Lenguaje Americano Por Señas ASL Para Principiantes)

Family Sign Language: Lessons 5-7 (Spanish) (Lenguaje Americano Por Señas ASL Para Principiantes)

Family Sign Language: Lessons 8-10 (Spanish) (Lenguaje Americano Por Señas ASL Para Principiantes)

Finally… My ASL Tech created this amazing list of 10 educational activities for the month of May that we are sharing here:

Sign Language Candyland. To get started, take out an old Candyland game board or make one of your own. Instead of using the cards with the colored squares, make some of your own that say in sign language, "one red," "three blue," etc. Fastest way to do this is to type the words you want in mySignGenerator, click Generate, print, and cut them out. Great way for your students to learn colors and numbers.

May 5th is Cinco de Mayo. To celebrate, have your students read some of the folktales from Spanish-speaking countries under myASLStories. The stories are accessible in English with ASL or Spanish with ASL. Funding for development of these stories was from the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP), US Department of Education. We have CD-ROMs too of these and also of "Sueno Sordo Hispano Americano" or "The Deaf Hispanic-American Dream," and "Somos Muy Fiesteros" or "We Like a Good Celebration," information about Mexican holidays and traditions. You can also treat your students to a copy of the Mexican Sign Language/American Sign Language translator - a great way to begin learning a foreign sign language.

March 10th is Mothers Day. Use myASLPublisher to make Mothers Day cards. Don't forget, you can import photos and other pictures from your computer, as well as the ASL images from myASLDictionary, and add text. If you click on the cylinder button on the left-hand side of the canvas, a drop-down menu includes a heart selection. You can change the outline and inside of your images using options at the bottom of the screen.

Charades. This can be played at home or at school as a group or in teams. Print signs/words pictures from myASLDictionary and put them face-down in a pile. Have the players take turns choosing a sign from the pile. The person who is "it" has to act out, not sign, the word till someone guesses it. Use a timer to increase the challenge.

Sign and Toss. Print sign/word pictures from myASLDictionary. Put them in a pile face down. To play, you’ll need a volleyball or a similar soft, large ball. Gather players in a circle and hand the ball to one of them to start. This first player draws a card from the pile. He or she has to throw the ball in the air and sign the word on the card once before catching the ball. Then the ball is passed to the next player, who will attempt the same, and so on. Should any of the players fail to catch the ball, every player must immediately do five jumping jacks. The player who dropped the ball will then drop out of the game, thereby shrinking the circle. On Round 2, the sign on the card drawn has to be signed twice before the ball is caught, etc. The last person standing is the winner!

Odd/Even. Make Flashcards for the numbers 1-10 using myASLTemplates and give each player a stack of them. Divide the players into teams of two. Let the players decide which one is going to be “odd,” and which one will be “even.” When you sign “add,” "subtract," or "multiply," without looking at the other player, each player must take a flashcard. Each team should then do the math on their cards to determine whether they’ve come up with an even or an odd number. If it’s even, the player who was designated “even” wins, and vice versa. Whoever wins that round, gets to keep the answer to the math problem as points. When all of the cards have been used up, the player with the most points wins.

Photographic Memory. Visual memory is an important skill for both reading and sign language. Paying attention to visual details and being able to convey them enriches sign language. Print some random pictures off of the internet. Let your students look at them for 5-10 seconds. Then, have them use mySignGenerator to type the words of as many things as they can remember from the picture.

May Flowers. Plant flower seeds in containers that have drainage holes, and put something underneath them to catch drainage water. Plants need at least 6 hours of sunlight, so put them a sunny window or hang a grow light in a darker room. Use mySignGenerator to type the names of the flowers, print, cut them out, and glue on popsicle sticks. Put these mini-signs in each container to help your students remember the flower names. 

May 25th is Memorial Day. Deaf people have played many important war-related roles throughout history. Check out these websites for some fascinating information:

The untold stories of deaf people in WW1

The Story of Deaf Smith – A Hero of the Texas Revolution

Deaf in the military

Deaf Soldiers during the Civil War

Don't forget - you can always copy the text from the websites and paste it into mySignGenerator to help your students read the information.

May 28th is National Hamburger Day.  myASLStories includes a story about a little girl who goes to a restaurant and gives the waitress her order in sign language. The waitress keeps confusing the food signs in the order for different food signs (e.g., turkey for chicken, milk for orange). Finally, the little girl gives up and orders a hamburger. To find the story, go to myASLStories, click on Biscuit Blvd. series, and choose Menu Mixup.” ” (