Digging Deeper Into Sign Language

A few weeks ago I received a comment from someone to ensure that I have been learning Canadian Sign Language. The website that I have been primarily using is called Sign Language 101 which I recently found out is an American Sign Language website. I then started to look into more websites on learning sign language and found majority American sign language (ASL). After reviewing over a few websites, I looked into the difference between American sign language and Canadian sign language, realizing now it is something I should have done in the first few weeks. When I was looking through the Canadian Hearing Society website, I found that ASL is the language that majority of deaf people use in Canada. Therefore, I am officially learning and have been learning ASL for my learning project.

Another great resource I found this week was a website called HandSpeak. HandSpeak is an ASL dictionary. This dictionary allows you to look up any word and it will show you how to sign it and the definition of the word. This website also allows you to search up phrases in sign language. This website is great because you can also use it in your classroom. There is a kids dictionary and videos of a child signing the words. I believe that if you are wanting to teach your class (K-3) using this resource would be a good start!

One thing that I started doing in my Young Preschool classroom was posting images around the room of things we are going to be doing and where certain toys go. For example in our toy kitchen we have a certain basket for fruit, on the shelf where the fruit basket goes, I have an image of it. Even though none of my children are deaf, I have a few children who are learning English as a second language. I believe that for children at this age, attaching images with words makes it easier for them to understand. Here is a website that provides a variety of different strategies to helping your children learn new words, How to Help Your Child Learn New Words. One strategy I seen in this website that I use in my classroom is picture books. Children love to look at books and be able to point out different images of things. For children who are deaf, I believe that they relay on learning through images therefore this beneficial to use in your classroom if you are teaching students new words.

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More Than Just Colors…

As I am following my videos on sign language 101, my next concept was on colors. I learned how to sign the colors red, blue, yellow, white, black, orange, pink, grey, purple, green, brown and tan. I learned that when you are signing colors you need to use movement in your hand. Unlike letters when your hand is in one position, to say specific colors you need to move your hand. One question I had this week when I was practicing colors in sign language was does it matter what hand you sign with. I then began to research this because I have been going back and forth with my right and left hand. I then looked into it and found that it doesn’t matter what hand you sign with as long as you use the same hand every time. I also read that most people sign with their dominant hand.

As I continued my research and practice with signing colors, I came across this video, which I strongly recommend you watching.

This video represents deaf people that are apart of an LGBTQ alliance signing the song True Colors. This alliance is called Ontario Rainbow Alliance of the Deaf. I really enjoyed this video because it made me think that color means so much more than most people think. When I was looking for videos online to learn how to sign colors this was one of the first videos that showed up. I watched this video and admired each and every person. This video made me think about why I decided to learn sign language in the first place and that reason was to be able to communicate with people who are deaf or have hearing impairments. It shows me that we need to respect people for who they are and to realize that people do not choose everything in their lives. Therefore as a teacher if I have 1 deaf student out of every 10 students, I want to be able to communicate with them because they are still a person. On the website Statistics on Deaf Canadians it states that there are 357,000 deaf Canadians and 3.21 million Canadians that had hard hearing.

Overall this week I focused more on learning about what the purpose was on learning sign language and why I chose to do this. I am learning that I am not going to completely accomplish learning sign language at the end of this course but I believe as long as I have a strong purpose on why I want to learn it, will give me integrity to keep learning it when this course is over and eventually be able to teach it to my students. To continue my journey right now, I am going to start learning common signs in sign language.

McLean Elementary School

I am completing my internship in a wonderful grade 3-4 class at McLean Elementary School in McLean, Saskatchewan. We have 21 amazing, smiling and bright students in our classroom. Every student brings their own uniqueness to the classroom.

The first week of school consisted of preparation and staff meetings to set goals for the school. Our school is focusing on reading, writing and physical literacy. As a school community we are motivating the students to be respectful to one another, be responsible, be kind and honest. We start our mornings by acknowledging that we are on Treaty 4 territory. One thing that my co-operating teacher has been trying to get our class to do is to practice mindfulness. Every morning in the classroom, we have been spending five minutes to practice mindfulness. Some students have been feeling uncomfortable or not having strong connections with mindfulness yet but that is something that we are going to continue working on throughout the semester.

During the first week of school for the students, I introduced two activities. These activities were called I wish my teacher knew and an about me poster. It helped me learn about my students on an academic level and also on a personal level. I also started teaching math this week. The students were learning about patterns and creating them with a variety of manipulative.

During the second week of school for the students we attended the Treaty 4 Gathering. This was a great opportunity for the students to take their knowledge that they have been learning about in Social Studies and apply it to the land that we are all on today, which is known as Treaty 4.

 

Introduction

Welcome to my Education Portfolio! My name is Brooklyn Mantai and I am 21 years old. I am proud to acknowledge that I currently reside in Treaty 4 territory. I grew up in the city of Camrose, Alberta. I am very family oriented and love working with youth. I am currently enrolled in my internship semester in the Middle Years Education Program at the University of Regina. I will be doing my internship in a grade 3/4 class at McLean Elementary School. I am excited to pursue my career choice and learn more about myself as a future educator. Since I am passionate about youth, I believe that all children should have the right to an inclusive education. I have been given many great opportunities in my life to work with a variety of people. I volunteer in both the Public and Catholic School Divisions in Regina, Saskatchewan. I also volunteered at the Public School Division in Camrose, Alberta. In these positions I was able to learn from extremely extraordinary students. They taught me more than I could ever teach them in the given time. In the volunteer opportunities that I received I was able to work with students of all ages and abilities. I learned throughout these opportunities that no student is the same and as teachers we need to use differentiation and adaptive dimensions to make it an equitable environment for all. Outside of the classroom, I volunteered with the Special Olympics Program in Saskatchewan and Alberta. This was a great program because it allowed me to meet some amazing athletes and build relationships with people. I am passionate about learning about myself as a future educator and about how I can be the best I can in supporting all students.

Experience

I was extremely grateful to be placed in a grade 4/5 class at St. Josaphat, Regina. During this experience I was welcomed by 25 smiling and passionate students. Not only did my co-operating teacher teach me a lot about being a future educator, but so did these students. I would not change this experience for the world. I learned how to build powerful relationships with students that will never be forgotten.