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Thursday, September 5, 2013


You know I LOVE sign language!  I’m certainly no expert, but if I can do it, anybody can do it.  
Let me give you a few reasons why I’m such a believer in the power of SIGN:
  1. It’s quiet.
  2. It’s multi-sensory.
  3. It’s engaging.  (All I have to do is sing a song in sign language and I have children’s undivided attention.)
  4. It’s good for differentiated instruction and for children who are non-English speakers.
  5. It’s free and it’s simple.
  6. It’s a great learning tool for teaching letters, high frequency words, vocabulary, etc.
  7. It’s like bubblegum.  Bubblegum?  Yep!  We need to figure out how to stick things in the brain, and sign language can provide that connection.
  8. Sign language can be a powerful tool for classroom management.
  9. Sign language can be a strategy to teach children how to communicate with friends and work through conflicts.
  10. Sign language can be a creative vehicle for reinforcing Common Core Standards.
If you search “sign language” on my blog you will find several past posts with ideas.  I frequently recommend these sites for learning sign language:  (Click on “dictionary” to see video clips of signs.)

Here are some great signs for classroom management to start your school year.  I’d explain to the class that you are going to teach them a new language called “sign language.”  It’s a special language for people who can’t hear because you talk with your hands.  I’d suggest introducing one new sign each day.  Encourage the children to model what you do when you make the sign.  In a few weeks, you’ll be amazed at how the volume in your classroom has been turned down.
Pay Attention   (Palms pointing towards face and shake back and forth.)

Stand Up  (Two fingers standing on palm and then point up.)

Sit Down  (Two fingers sitting on 2 fingers of other hand and point down.)

Walk  (Walk fingers.)

Line Up  (Fingers up with right pinky and left thumb touching.)

Bathroom  (Make “t” and wiggle.)

Water (Make “w” with fingers and place near your mouth.)

More    (Fingertips touching.)

Wonderful  (Palms open facing out and move down and then up.)

I love you!   (Fingers up with middle finger and ring finger bent down.)

Look!  Listen!  Learn  (“L” by eyes, ears, and then brain.)

Finished  (Brush hands away from chest.)

Here are some other signs that Liz Watras shared last January in Ohio to help children work through conflicts:  
Ask  (Palms together bring to your chest as if praying.)

Help  (Make a fist with one hand and place it on the open palm of the other hand. 
Bring both up in the air at the same time.)

Stop  (One palm open.  Pretend to chop it with the other palm.)

Trade  (Hold one hand in front of the other. Switch places and then switch places again.)

Wait  (Hold hands up and off to the side and wiggle the fingers.)

Yes  (Make an “s” with your fist and raise and lower it like your head.)

No  (Middle and index finger straight and close toward the thumb.)

Share  (Open palm and tap thumb on open palm of the other hand.)

Include  (Pretend to grab something in the air and put it in the other hand.)

Please  (One palm open on chest and make a circular motion.)

Thank you (Touch fingertips on chin and extend out.)

Sorry   (Make fist and rub on chest in circular motion.)

Excuse me  (One palm up and brush fingertips of other hand across.) 

And, excuse me, but this has nothing to do with sign language!  I had coffee with a friend and she suggested taking a photo of your driver's license to have as a back-up on your phone in case of an emergency.  I think it's a great idea, don't you?  (And you'll never know how much I weigh!!!!)

I'm packing for my trip to Merced, CA, tomorrow and I can't wait!  What an adventure!  I've got a blog for you each day so stay tuned!