Web Report #1
Date: Wed, 23 Jun 1999
From: Teacher: Deborah Holden
1. Why do you want to learn SignWriting?
I want to learn SignWriting because I think it is very important
for Deaf students to value themselves. One way to do this is
to increase their self-esteem. When I showed my students SignWriting
the first thing I saw was an amazed response of pride. They then
questioned, "This is ASL?" To my surprise the students
could read the writing without any instruction. I believe if
we could use SignWriting at our school Deaf students would be
able to learn to read and write in their first language and then
be able to read and write English, their second language better.
2. What have been some of your past frustrations when teaching?
I have noticed that my students have gaps in their knowledge.
Their vocabulary is very weak. They know some words as signs
only. They have never seen the English word on paper before.
They know some words in print but do not know a sign for them.
They know of real world objects but do not know a sign or printed
word for it. This makes it very difficult when the students are
fully included in all subjects, all day. Much time is spent explaining.
Luckily my students grasp the ideas quickly.
3. Are you hoping that SignWriting might help? If so, in what
I was hoping that SignWriting might help fill in the gaps- that
students could read and write in SignWriting they would be reading
more and thereby gaining all that exposure that they have been
we got the ball rolling, I would hope that it would pick up speed,
reading and writing would blossom as never before.
4. How would you like to use your web page?
I imagine that my students and I would like to use the web page
to do both: write our opinions and feedback about SignWriting
and display the students writing assignments.
5. Please write other information about your group.
Our group is comprised of four students: two Deaf and two Hard
of Hearing, three girls and one boy ages 11 to 13. This group
has just completed sixth grade, and it is the first year we all
have been together. Two girls moved into the district over last
summer. One deaf girl and one Hard of Hearing girl both are signers.
They knew our one Deaf boy from school as babies three years
old. So it was a reunion for them. Our Deaf boy and Hard of hearing
girl moved into the district four years ago. The girl did not
sign but has been picking up signing from our full-time interpreter
and the other students who sign ever since. For all of my students,
writing is a difficult task. They are reluctant to do any kind
of writing. However the students think that SignWriting is neat
and are really motivated to start reading and writing with it
in September. I'm looking forward to receiving my first shipment
of material which should arrive soon. I'm eager to start planning
for September. Until my next report, thanks for reading, enjoy
life, and drop us a line; we'd love to hear from you!
Teacher: Deborah Holden
Averill Park Central School District
146 Gettle Road
Averill Park, NY. 12018