Wrapping it Up – ASL in Six Weeks

I chose to learn American Sign Language for a number of reasons. As an educator, American Sign Language will help me communicate with colleagues, parents and students who may be deaf or hard of hearing. My partner also has family members who are deaf, and I wanted to be able to fully communicate with them. I also work in the service industry, and want to be able to accommodate any customer I might encounter to the best of my ability. Simply put, I want to open my lines of communication and be as inclusive as possible as a person communicating in a world with others.

My Goals

When I began the ASL learning project, I set out to use lifeprint.com, and complete lessons 1-15.

Lets all take a minute to stop and laugh.

I had no idea how difficult it would be to learn American Sign Language in six weeks, and in setting that goal not only did I overestimate my ability, but I underestimated the difficulty of such an important skill, and the ability of all those who use ASL to communicate every day. After the first week, I decided to see just how far I could progress myself, without setting a goal for the end of the semester so that I could learn at my own pace, and not pressure myself to learn too much too quickly.

Technology Used

The first website I tried to use for learning ASL was lifeprint.com, which features the American Sign Language University.

 I didn’t really like the layout of the website or the order of the lessons, so before I ever used it for a lesson, I found two new resources: ASL THAT and signlanguage101.com.

I really liked ASL THAT because of the simplicity of the videos, such as the video I used to learn the Alphabet.

via YouTube

What I liked a lot about the signlanguage101.com videos, were that they were full, comprehensive lessons, and the teacher always included language tips and tips about deaf culture, so that you weren’t just learning basic ASL, but learning how and why certain rules existed, such as in this video I used to learn gestures.

via YouTube

As I continued on, I started to branch out and find more resources, such as Signing Savvy, an online English-ASL dictionary, and Sign Language Blitz.

I also found great videos from the South Dakota School for the Deaf’s YouTube Channel, such as this one, that I used to learn adjectives.

via YouTube

Finally, the last resource I found is the one I wish I had found first, Rochelle Barlow’s website and YouTube Channel, which featured lessons from beginner to expert, and downloadable worksheets that help learners keep track of progress at home.

What I liked about the use of technology for this project was the fact that I was able to use many different resources of my choosing, and choose lessons that I felt that I wanted to do. I was able to skip any lessons I wanted, and learn any lessons I wanted. This helps make learning more personal and tailored for learners. I also loved being able to film myself each week and watch myself as I progressed. When I got bored, I could simply look around on Twitter and other online spaces to find new resources to use.

Progress

Week 1: Choosing ASL

  • A goal was set 
  • Resources were chosen 
  • Basic outline of my learning plan

Week 2: The Alphabet, Gestures and Body Language

  • The Alphabet (A-Z)
  • Yes/no, come on, car, swim, no way, whatever, I don’t know, what’s up, drink, house, key
  • Facial expressions

Week 3: Colours, Pronouns and Basic Phrases

  • Colours: red, blue, yellow, white, black, green, orange, pink, purple, tan, brown and grey 
  • Pronouns: he, she, them, they, it,  you, me, they, we, my, you, your, ours, myself, yourself, themselves, ourselves, someone, each other and other. 

Week 4: Everyday Signs and Verbs

  • Yes, no, maybe, good, want, don’t want, restroom, lights on, lights off, go, stop
  • Verbs: Eat, drink, jump, walk, run, sit, stand, sleep, sleep, fly, fly, cry, wake up, stop, pick up, push, pull, open, close, wash, kiss, throw, drop, hit, hit, cut, fall, hug, drive, turn around, kick, pour, pour. 

Week 5: Common Phrases, Adjectives and Basic Sentence Structure

  • Hello, goodbye, how are you, see you later, see you tomorrow, my name is, what time is it, yes, no, please, thank you, welcome, I’m fine, excuse me, be careful, good morning, good afternoon
  • Adjectives: Hot, cold, big, little, happy, sad, clean, dirty, broken, red, blue, green, yellow, orange, purple, black, white, pink, brown, one, two, three, yucky, silly, soft, fast.
  • Sentence structure 

Week 6: Numbers and Animals

  • Numbers 1-30
  • Animals: Cat, dog, elephant, rabbit, bird, duck, fish, cow, monkey, bear

Wrapping it Up

So just how much did I learn in six weeks? Well to recap, to start with all I knew was a few letters of the alphabet, and by the end of six weeks, I had learned:

  • The Alphabet (A-Z)
  • Yes/no, come on, car, swim, no way, whatever, I don’t know, what’s up, drink, house, key
  • Facial expressions
  • Colours: red, blue, yellow, white, black, green, orange, pink, purple, tan, brown and grey 
  • Pronouns: he, she, them, they, it,  you, me, they, we, my, you, your, ours, myself, yourself, themselves, ourselves, someone, each other and other. 
  • Yes, no, maybe, good, want, don’t want, restroom, lights on, lights off, go, stop
  • Verbs: Eat, drink, jump, walk, run, sit, stand, sleep, sleep, fly, fly, cry, wake up, stop, pick up, push, pull, open, close, wash, kiss, throw, drop, hit, hit, cut, fall, hug, drive, turn around, kick, pour, pour. 
  • Hello, goodbye, how are you, see you later, see you tomorrow, my name is, what time is it, yes, no, please, thank you, welcome, I’m fine, excuse me, be careful, good morning, good afternoon
  • Adjectives: Hot, cold, big, little, happy, sad, clean, dirty, broken, red, blue, green, yellow, orange, purple, black, white, pink, brown, one, two, three, yucky, silly, soft, fast.
  • Sentence structure 
  • Numbers 1-30
  • Animals: Cat, dog, elephant, rabbit, bird, duck, fish, cow, monkey, bear

They say that you are fluent in a language once you have one thousand words in your vocabulary, and while I’m quite far off, I can see it becoming a real possibility as I continue to study ASL. Is it as much as I would have liked to learn? No, but I’m just getting started, and I enjoy being able to go at my own pace. I can’t wait to continue learning ASL, and keeping my blog and Twitter up to date on my progress.

Thanks for joining me on this learning journey!

-Kali

 

 

 

Advertisements

4 thoughts on “Wrapping it Up – ASL in Six Weeks

  1. Way to go Kali! You have come so far in just a short period of time! ASL is something that has always interested me and following your journey has only grabbed my interest even more! Great learning project documentation!

    Like

  2. Wow! You sure have learnt a lot in these short 6 weeks. I love how so many people have chosen ASL as their learning project and I loved watching each of your progress. Choosing a learning project that you can use in your future classroom was an extremely smart idea. Especially when it makes for a more inclusive classroom. What was your biggest hardship of learning a brand new language all online with no face to face teaching? I took french a year ago face to face and that was hard enough for me! Overall, very well done. You should be proud!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Kelsey, my biggest challenge was definitely trying to plan what I was learning each week! Every language has different rules and structures so trying to learn those in an order that made sense to me was more difficult I think than if I had knowledge of the language were planning lessons for someone else

      Like

  3. Kyla Wolfe

    Wow! You have learnt so so much! I love how to laid out what you have learnt in the end. I totally agree that learning ASL is such an important and valuable skill, especially as a teacher! I hope you continue practicing and learning more. Great job!
    Kyla

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s