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Explore the World from a New Perspective

Students will conduct research to learn about American Sign Language and the Deaf community. They will use what they learned to write an essay describing what their lives would be like if they were deaf.

PROCESS:

  1. As a class, in small groups or with a partner, have students conduct research to learn about American Sign Language and the Deaf community. Encourage students to begin their research with the National Institute on Deafness and Communication Disorders. This site contains information on ASL and the Deaf community along with links to many other relevant sites.
  2. As students search for information, encourage them to go beyond the basic facts. Challenge them to learn what daily life is like for someone in the Deaf community. If possible, invite a deaf person to speak with the class.
  3. Encourage students to share what they learned. Discuss how new knowledge made them more aware of-or even changed their views of-the Deaf community.
  4. Tell students to imagine what their lives would be like if they were deaf. Give them time to write a brief essay about the experience.

ASSESSMENT: 

Invite students to share their essays with the class. Encourage them to identify the most important insights they had when they imagined their own lives as a deaf person.

CUSTOMIZE THE LESSON: 

Grades 3-4:
As a class, conduct research to learn about American Sign Language and the Deaf community. Then have students share what they learned. Challenge them to recognize different ways that lack of hearing could affect someone's life. Instruct students to write an essay that explains how their daily lives would be different if they were deaf.
Grades 5-6:
Divide the class into small groups. Instruct groups to conduct research to learn about American Sign Language and the Deaf community. Rejoin as a class and encourage students to share what they learned. Challenge students to recognize ways that lack of hearing could affect someone's life. Then instruct students to write an essay. Challenge them to give detailed examples describing how their own lives would be different if they were deaf.  
Grades 7-8: 
Divide the class into small groups. Instruct groups to conduct research on American Sign Language and the Deaf community. Then have two groups team up to discuss what they learned. Challenge students to recognize ways that lack of hearing could affect someone's life, including how others might treat that person. Instruct students to write an essay describing how their own lives would be different if they were deaf, particularly in their interactions with others.
Grades 9-10:
Divide the class into pairs. Instruct partners to conduct research on American Sign Language and the Deaf community. Then have several pairs team up to discuss what they learned. Challenge students to recognize ways that lack of hearing can affect people's lives, including how others might treat that person. Instruct students to write an essay describing what their lives would be like if they were deaf. Challenge them to describe how their lives wouldn't be more or less, just different.