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Thursday, November 10, 2011


I LOVE SIGN LANGUAGE!  I really do!  It's multi-sensory, engaging, and it keeps those little hands busy.  Sign language can also be a great tool if you have children with different language backgrounds, and it provides a new challenge for children who are very bright.   It's free, simple, and easy!  

My favorite website is  If you go there you can download manual signs for the alphabet letters and use those to make games.  You can also use their video dictionary to learn how to sign different words.  Click on "dictionary" and then scroll down to the word you want to learn.

Sing and Signs – Teach children signs for letters as they are introduced. 

Use this song to the tune of “Where Is Thumbkin?” to reinforce the concept.
                   Where is A?                     Where is A?  (Children repeat each line.)
                        Here I am!                        (Hold up the manual sign for A.)
                        Here I am!                        (Children repeat and copy sign.)
                        What do you say A?         What do you say A?
                        /a/ /a/ /a/                       /a/ /a/ /a/
Letter Box – Here’s another song you can use to teach children manual signs for letters.  It goes to the tune of “Polly Wolly Doodle.”
I wish I had a letter box            
To put my A in.
I’d take it out and go             (Hold up sign for a.)
/a/ /a/ /a/
And put it back again.            (Pretend to put hand back in box.)
Continue singing other letters and making signs for other letters.

Sign and Spell – Use sign language to spell children’s names and other words.

Dismissal – Tell the children to watch your hand.  As you make the sign that their name begins with, they may be dismissed to line up, go to centers, wash hands, etc.

Signing Game – Make different signs and see if the children can guess the letter you are making.  What’s a word that begins with that sound?
*For older children finger spell words and see who can decode it.
*Play “Simon Says” by signing motions for children to make.

Word Wall Words – Learn signs for high frequency words.  Visit and click on “dictionary” to see signs demonstrated.
Hint!  Encourage the children to make “strong” letters.  As children tighten up muscles in their hands, they will also be strengthening those small motor skills.

Come back tomorrow and I'll have more ideas for integrating sign language in  your classroom!