Sign Can You  
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Curriculum Guide



Proposal For Classroom Use of Sign Can You

The signature of Sign Can You is its small vocabulary. The possibilities for expression while using a small vocabulary are amazing, and the smaller the better for the learning process. It allows time and energy to focus on matters of usage, the essence of any language.

There's also the challenge of expressing oneself with a limited vocabulary. It forces one to nimble up the mind, an important challenge for someone taking on a second language.


Homework time

The homework for the first class is to read the whole book by the following week. The text, excluding illustrations and their synonyms, is 15,000 words, a two to three hour read. It's short enough for two or three readings during the semester. The students will gain added insight from further readings as they proceed through the learning process.

Homework includes daily 15-minute viewings of the DVD videos. The first half of the semester is spent looking at the Alphabet, Numbers and Vocabulary videos. The second half is spent with the Messages video. Fifteen minutes a day is ideal. Settle for less if you must. Repetition is the key.

The vocabulary video is 75 minutes, a five-day journey at 15 minutes a day. That's one complete viewing a week. Maybe a half semester is too much time, which gives more time for the Messages video, which is where the action is. It's 90 minutes long, a six-day journey at 15 minutes a day.

The students view the content in a global sense. The book flashes by in two hours. The entire vocabulary flashes by in three days. All the messages flash by in five. Repetition is the key. They will learn the vocabulary on their own by sitting and watching and copying.

Homework includes a good look at the illustrations and their synonyms. This is done by placing a blank paper over the page and moving it up or down the page. The book becomes a set of flashcards. This is to get a clear understanding of what each sign means. There are 341 illustrations, and the Sign Index includes 1,325 English words. There's a lot of meaning in these 341 illustrations.

Homework includes going through the Sign Index, guessing signs along the way. This would be done at the end of the semester. It's a game very similar to crossword puzzles. It's not important to finish the whole Sign Index. However far the class goes will help, and it shows the students another avenue to improve their agility with these signs.

Homework includes having a daily 15-minute conversation in Sign among themselves. Take time on the first day of class so everyone can make 15-minute appointments with each other. Daily is ideal, and maybe unattainable. It's a group endeavor, and up in the air.

Lastly, homework includes looking over the DVD Messages Script in the book. The script stops time, allowing time to think about how English and ASL are different. The teacher could point out features of ASL in the script, giving the student a broader view of the DVD itself. It's not important to study the entire script.


Class time

Class time involves discussion and play. The discussion is about ASL in a conceptual sense. It's about managing space, time and our bodies to create language. The text enters the class in the form of communication games that describe aspects of ASL. The teacher gives a short explanation and discussion about a particular feature of ASL and onto the communication games.

Communication games need not be high-minded grammar (a word to avoid.) A simple topic of conversation will do. The students communicate in pairs, groups or as a class. Human interaction should dominate class time. I can think of a few games, and I'm sure there are lots of them. Dictionaries are allowed, and the teacher may introduce a few extra signs to speed along a game. The games bring people into conversation, an important exercise for learning a second language

Make it fun.

The following lists the order of topics for classroom discussion and games. The first six items are intended to get the conversation started.




Questions, including WHO, WHAT, WHY, WHEN, WHERE, WHICH. Facial expression is emphasized.

Pronouns and possessives, and a discussion about POINT.

People. Focus the beginning classes on family relationships.

The senses, including SEE, HEAR, TASTE, SMELL and both physical and emotional FEEL


Space, the pictorial part.





       ASL sign Illustration and video





             ASL sign Illustration and video





ASL sign Illustration and video





ASL sign Illustration and video





ASL sign Illustration and video





ASL sign Illustration and video





         ASL sign Illustration and video




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