contact me at

Monday, October 5, 2009

Back in Second Grade

On Friday, I went back to second grade. It seems a little odd to
be in second grade again. After all, JD is now a third grader.
I guess he passed second grade but I didn't.

JD's former teacher asked me to return to her classroom to meet
with her new students. They have been reading a story about
sign language. She wanted me to come in to read to the class
and teach them some signs. Naturally, I agreed.

It was weird being at the school and not even seeing my son.
The new class is wonderful, however. It's another grate bunch of
kids. We had a good time together.

I don't have any braille books about sign language or people who
are deaf. I decided to use an alphabet story to teach the
children the sign language alphabet. It's a very simple but
cute story called "Pignic." Each pig brings different food to a
big picnic. The names and foods start with the same letter and
it's all told in rhyme.

As I read each page, I modeled how the letter is made in sign
language. The children copied me and tried to make the signs on
their own. I went slow so they would have the chance to
practice the letters.

When the story was over, I explained to the children about the
importance of facial expression while using sign language.
People who are deaf don't just talk with their hands. They use
their face too. Much information comes from the face.

To illustrate this, I signed the word "salad" with a straight
face. I asked them if I liked salad. They didn't know. Then I
signed the word again and made a horrible, awful face. When I
asked again if I like salad, they all laughed and said, "No!"

We went through all the foods again. With voices turned off,
the children told me if they liked or disliked the food. They
used thumbs up or thumbs down and made faces to express their
feelings. I heard a great deal of giggling, too.

Everyone agreed that ice cream is great. No one wanted to eat
Eggplant stew. Some liked fish but others did not

Next, I introduced a game to teach the students the signs for
different animals. I had 22 braille/print "Go Fish" cards.
Each student got one card. That was their special animal. They
would need to watch carefully for that animal and learn the sign.

I had the matches for all of the cards. I went through the pile
teaching the different animals. Fish, goat, dog, cow and many
more. When we got to "alligator," I could hear the clapping of
many little hands. I knew my audience was totally with me at
that point. They were all practicing the different signs as we
went along.

Finally, I went through the cards again. This time I didn't use
my voice. The children needed to watch for their special animal
and raise their hand when I made that sign. They did a really
good job with this. I was impressed at how well they learned and
remembered the signs.

It was time for questions and they asked many. They wanted to
know how I learned braille and sign language. They asked how to
make certain signs. For some reason, they asked many questions
about JD. They all know him. I thought that was cute.

One student asked me if I like movies. I explained how I read
the scripts in braille. I have the words and as I read, I
"see" the movie in my head. This excited the children because
they've been writing a story about forming pictures in your mind.

The students sang the Monarch butterfly song to me. One little
girl named Sydney let me touch her neck as she sang. This way I
could feel the vibration of her voice. What a brave and special
little girl to let me touch her like that!

Then it was time to say goodbye. It was a wonderful visit to
second grade. Perhaps I'll eventually move on to third grade.
Regardless, I will always enjoy my time in that classroom and
hope to be back again for future visits.

No comments:

Post a Comment