Well, folks this is my final update! My Learning Project has been more of a journey, than a destination. My goal was quite broad, as I wasn’t quite sure where my project would take me. Although this is my final post, I still feel like I am not ready to be finished! There are so many things I was hoping to do (e.g.: explore even more resources, sign a song or children’s book, complete more of my ASL 1 lessons, etc.). However, this project has acted as a catalyst into an area of inquiry that holds potential for future career endeavours! Although I’m putting this project to rest for now, I don’t think I’ve seen the last of it…
I’ve been continuing to add to the Wakelet! It is my intention that this Wakelet be useful to anyone reading this blog and myself in the future. Since so many resources were shared with me, I compiled my favourites/ones I’ve spent a significant amount of time exploring, as well as other resources that were recommended to me that could potentially be useful in the future. Below, I’ve provided a brief overview of the following resources.
The #WhyISign campaign was started by Stacy Abrams to spread awareness about the importance of ASL. She aims to inspire families to share their experiences of why they learned to sign with their Deaf children. Stacy highlights that the Deaf community truly values families who support their children’s learning journey in ASL and wants to connect hearing and Deaf individuals. She explains that she is from a hearing family and they learned to sign in order to support and communicate with her. She states, “I will succeed, because I have language.” This resonated with me because it echoes much of what Michelle discussed in her conversation with me about language deprivation and the impact it can have on children whose families do not learn to sign with them. There is also an Instagram page that showcases the stories of people who learned to sign. I encourage you to check it out… It is amazing how deafness has touched so many people. With that being said, I am glad I started a resource hub because you never know who you will meet!
Deaf Identity is a clothing brand that I learned about from Chrissy Can’t Hear You. The website is pretty self-explanatory, as it is used to order clothing that raises awareness about deafness and empowers the Deaf community. After watching Deaf U, I was beginning to see how the Deaf community can be somewhat divisive. I appreciated that this brand made a statement that highlights there is no “right way” to be Deaf and everyone’s experience is unique. This reflects much of what Cheyenna was feeling in Deaf U. She felt that she was not accepted or “Deaf enough.” It was reassuring to see that there is more than one way to experience deafness and that these experiences are a vast spectrum. In addition, I found it very powerful when this statement touched on being told, “Oh, never mind”, which also echoed Bet’s experience at family gatherings from the Seen and Not Heard podcast.
Resources for Kids: Rocky Mountain Deaf School & ASL Kids Club YouTube Channels
The Rocky Mountain Deaf School YouTube channel was recommended to me in both of my conversations with Michelle and Alyssa. Essentially, this resource has a variety of children’s books that are signed in ASL. The storyteller is very expressive and the videos are well-made. For example, the pictures and words from the book are clear and the person on the screen is front and centre to make their signing easily recognized. Like most videos I’ve watched this semester, there is no sound. In addition, an ASL specialist named Jeni Jackerson edits and signs these stories and is a staff member at Rocky Mountain Deaf School, which is located in Denver, Colorado. When I was thinking of learning to sign a children’s book, I was planning on using this resource! The ASL Kids Club YouTube channel is a resource for children who are interested in learning sign. Most of the videos have background music and the words that are being signed are said out loud along with the sign. This channel contains basic ASL vocabulary for kids, as well as signed children’s books. The books have audio and text along with signing. This channel was created by a teacher named Ms. Trina who has taught and been an ASL interpreter for over 20 years. On the YouTube channel, there is also a link to access her website. On the website, it appears that there are other lesson options beyond the YouTube channel that have different price ranges.
I made it through the first and only season of Deaf U! I watched the last three episodes over the last two weeks. I knew I most likely wouldn’t be able to finish the Seen and Not Heard podcast as well because there are a number of episodes left. I decided to focus my time on finishing Deaf U, as I was so close! In addition, I’ve become somewhat invested in the lives of the students on the show… I just needed to know how the season ended!
Like I’ve mentioned before, I’ve tried to keep my posts about this show focused on the Deaf culture piece. Since there were only three episodes left, most of the Deaf culture pieces have already been covered and now the show mainly focuses on the stories of the students. However, there are some interesting pieces that I took away from these episodes. For example, I’ve been thinking more and more about the Universal Design (UD) model and ways to create Deaf friendly environments (us teachers may be most familiar with the Universal Design for Learning). This train of thought was sparked when DQ and his girlfriend were on a subway and there were announcements at each stop. Usually, there is a visual that accompanies this message. However, there are other announcements that do not have a corresponding visual. Since DQ can hear, he would interpret for his girlfriend. This made me think about what Deaf people do in these situations when they are alone and if there is an emergency. In the comfort of your own home, you can have your space adapted to meet your needs, but this can be tricky in public spaces. One of the principles of UD is flexibility in use. This means having choice in the method of use. To alert a Deaf person there is an announcement in a subway station, it might be helpful to have a light flash and a screen that is available for the person to read.
Furthermore, Cheyenna discusses that more Deaf singers are beginning to be represented in music videos and in live shows. She interpreted for a singer and explained that she memorizes the lyrics, but needs to feel the rhythm. It was also discussed how interpreters usually do not perform live, as this is very challenging to do. Cheyenna also explains that it is difficult to demonstrate the changes in the singer’s voice and pitch. She also expresses that she feels very unaccepted by the “elite” group of students at Gallaudet because she is caught in between the hearing world and the Deaf world. She also signs different than the “elites” and mouths when she signs, especially on her YouTube channel. Her friend Cameron explains to her that the Deaf community is small and that it is important they preserve the culture and language. In the final episode, we find out that Cheyenna ends up dropping out of Gallaudet. She was disappointed to leave, but was struggling with the social pressures that come with being involved in the Deaf community.
Final Mash Up & Connect ASL!
Initially, I was planning on doing Lesson # 5 with Bill Vicars, but I figured it was more appropriate to do a final mash up of what I’ve learned! It’s nothing fancy, but my goal was to showcase the bits and pieces that I’ve learned in terms of my ASL. For this video, I decided to pick a few of my favourite items and put them together in one highlight video. I decided to showcase:
- The alphabet
- Numbers 1-20
- 5 outdoor activities
- 5 basic needs
- 5 places
- Bill Vicars’s lesson highlights
I wanted to mix things up and try making TikToks to the beat of a song for these segments. However, my speed just isn’t quite there yet! I needed more than a minute for most of these, so I went back to my trusty YouTube! Although TikTok wasn’t the right platform for the job, I think once I get my speed down it would be such a great way to showcase any further learning! I did need to review each of the segments prior to doing them for my mash up video, but once I began practicing these skills again, it came back quite easily. To be honest, I am a little disappointed that I did not have the chance to learn how to sign part of a song or a children’s book. If I had just a few more weeks, this would have been my next big goal! I am still scratching my head trying to figure out where the time went…
I also was planning on learning family terms for my next ASL Connect lesson. However, on the website I found a video for basic needs, which I thought would be helpful. As a result, I ditched my original plan and pursued this route instead! Since my basic ASL vocabulary is starting to improve, I decided to do this video in one take by not chopping it into sections. I spent about an hour practicing in the mirror and reviewing with the video. After, I decided to just go for it! It took about four takes when filming, but I was able to do it way quicker than previous videos. In my videos prior to this one, I would include symbols or descriptions to remind me of the motions. In this video, I just used my word list without the descriptions. Progress!
Something else I would like to mention is that Michelle was featured in my division’s Monday Information Source. There is a Google Chrome extension that will automatically caption videos played in the Chrome browser. This is definitely something to consider implementing, as I find students retain information from videos we watch more effectively when they can also read captions. This is a great way to reach a variety of learners. Check out this link here to install the feature!
Thank you for sticking with me on this learning journey that has been full of change and growth!
Until next time,