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From:  Valerie Sutton
Date:  Tue May 4, 1999  1:29 pm
Subject:  Report From Lena Arvidson

From: "Lena Arvidson"
To: "SignWriting"
Subject: Web report 1 response
Date: Sat, 1 May 1999 08:58:31 -0600

Web Report #1
For Participating Teachers

1. Why do you want to learn SignWriting?

For myself, I think it's really neat! For my students, I wonder if it's
beneficial-still would like more information (not to worry, browsing your
site). If it is beneficial, I certainly would like to learn it. I'm
thinking I may be able to pair signs and English text (not really 1:1 each
word, but by phrase or sentence), so that my students can sit and make
sense of a book by themselves, without depending on me reading it to
them-likening this to hearing students listening to audio tapes of books
and reading that book at the same time. I would still continue my practice
of reading books with students, of course, but this would enable students
to take books home and read books on their own. I would consider 'weaning'
them off of the sign text to reading only the English in the book(s) I
would pair the signs and English text. I would also use signwriting for
deaf students writing to each other-so that the literacy levels of each
students wouldn't really matter, they would still understand one another.

2. What have been some of your past frustrations when teaching?

Students not retaining English word order or English words. I've been
taught from the university I went to that exposure is the key, to expose
them to the words over and over again. I have been taught other strategies
as well-but I would like more strategies in teaching literacy to deaf
children (I'm speaking of students who are ASL signers).

3. Are you hoping that SignWriting might help? If so, in what way?

I'm hoping that signwriting will help in pairing English text and signed
words (by phrase so that meaning is kept intact), to get students to read
on their own instead of depending on me to read it to them to get the
meaning out of the English text. Also, deaf students could write to each
other and still understand each other-since it's likely they may have
varying levels of English literacy and may not understand one another's

4. The SignWriting Teacher's Forum has a free web page for you and your
students, to use in anyway you wish, just as long as it relates to
SignWriting. For example, you can post your opinions about SignWriting, or
you can post student's writing assignments. How would you like to use your
web page?

This would depend on my future experience with signwriting, since I have
just started with it and and still exploring the possibilities-and whether
it would be beneficial to use with my students.

5. Please write any other information about your group that you would like
to share. You are welcome to write as much as you wish! Human interest
stories will help us get to know you. It will make following your progress
with SignWriting that much more exciting!

I am a teacher of the deaf/hard of hearing in Fort Morgan, CO, USA. Right
now I'm working almost exclusively with one deaf student who signs ASL. I
have 5 other deaf and hard of hearing students in my caseload, all of whom
are hard of hearing and oral except for one high school student who uses
SEE and knows ASL. Next year, another interpreter will take over for me
and I will be free to work with the other students much more. Another ASL
signing student (deaf) will join us next year-she will be in the first
grade, and two deaf preschoolers will join us as well, one of which is
deaf-blind. The first grader is nearly deaf-blind--she was diagnosed as
deaf-blind this past year-but recently she had a vision screening where her
sight was found to be better by a few degrees.

Fort Morgan is in a rural area, which is why I am the only teacher of
the deaf there and why there are so few deaf/hard of hearing students. The
students who sign ASL tend to be isolated. Because of this isolation part
of my responsibility to these students is involve them in deaf events so
they can meet other signing students, and make more meaningful
friendships. Next week, the girl now in kindergarten (next year first
grader) who will join us next fall, her interpreter, the student I
currently work with most of the time and I will go see Strega Nona, a
shadowed play in a larger town south of us-where there will be a lot of
other deaf students, and the next day will go to another deaf event. I'm
hoping that these two students will be able to socialize and find new
acquaintances that may lead to future friendships. I'm also working on
enrolling them in a camp for the deaf in the mountains here (Aspen Camp
School for the Deaf).

I'm a new teacher, just starting this last February, 1999. If anyone
would like to give me tips, I would love it! :)

-Lena Arvidson, Teacher of the Deaf/Hard of Hearing
email: <>

Valerie Sutton and the Deaf Action Committee For SignWriting have my full
permission to post this report to the SignWriting Email List, and on the
SignWriting Web Site.

Signature of Teacher:
Lena Arvidson

Date of Signature:
May 1, 1999

Valerie :-)

Valerie Sutton


The DAC, Deaf Action Committee for SW
Center For Sutton Movement Writing
an educational nonprofit organization
Box 517, La Jolla, CA, 92038-0517, USA
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