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Monday Morning Ready09.15.2017
Jumpstart Your Week!

Languages change. They must. For example, even stickler grammarians have to admit that "impact" has gained popularity as a verb. Even if it’s still annoying to some. The Oxford Dictionaries are always adding words. Last year duckface was added. Also added were lolcat and five-second rule. As evidenced by that list, the internet is a cauldron of word evolution. And like all other languages, American Sign Language has to incorporate the phrases and terms that spring from it.... < read more >
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
Grade 3-4

What do you think would be the biggest challenges for people who use American Sign Language to communicate?

Grade 5-6

Think of a word you heard recently for the first time. Is it in the dictionary? If not, what do you think the word's definition should be?

Grade 7-8

People who use American Sign Language communicate with their hands, facial expressions and body posture. Knowing that, what do you think the sign for the word duckface should be? How about five-second rule?

Grade 9-10

According to the article, American Sign Language doesn't have one official dictionary. How could that present challenges for people who use ASL to communicate?

LESSON PLAN
Explore the World from a New Perspective

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.
SMITHSONIAN RESOURCES
Smithsonian Video Resources in American Sign Language
This collection from Smithsonian Learning Lab includes a educational video resources in American Sign Language, including the ArtSigns series from the Smithsonian American Art Museum; the story behind an unusual object at the National Museum of American History; the Two-Inch Universe from the Chandra X-Ray Observatory; and a performance from the National Museum of American Indian and storytelling at the Smithsonian's Folklife Festival.

Teen Inventors Create Live Closed-Captioning Glasses for the Deaf
Read this Smithsonian article to learn how seventeen-year-old inventor Daniil Frants and his friends hope to help the hard-of-hearing engage in naturally flowing conversations.

How Being Deaf Made the Difference in Space Research
Read this article from the National Air and Space Museum to learn how the Deaf community played a major role in the space program.

Seriously Amazing Objects: The Extraordinary Life of Helen Keller
Author, activist and advocate Helen Keller accomplished remarkable feats throughout her life, including being the first deafblind person to earn a college degree. Watch this Smithsonian Channel video to learn more about her remarkable life.

There’s a Philly Sign Language Accent
Quite often, it’s easy to figure out where someone is from when you hear that person speak. The same is true with American Sign Language. Read this Smithsonian article to learn about the unique signs used by people in Philadelphia that hint at the history of sign language in the U.S.

This Wearable Device Translates Sign Language to English
Read this Smithsonian article to learn about a prototype that detects hand and finger movements and turns them into words on a screen.
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