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From:  Valerie Sutton
Date:  Thu Sep 9, 1999  5:19 pm
Subject:  Web Report #1, Algonquin Middle School

September 9, 1999

Dear SignWriting List:
Below is teacher Deborah Holden's first report from the Algonquin Middle
School, in Averill Park, New York:

Date: Wed, 23 Jun 1999
From: "Deborah Holden"
To: SignWriting
Subject: Re: Web Report #1

Web Report #1
Algonquin Middle School

1. Why do you want to learn SignWriting?

I want to learn SignWriting because I think it is very important for Deaf
students to value themselves. One way to do this is to increase their
self-esteem. When I showed my students SignWriting the first thing I saw was
an amazed response of pride. They then questioned, "This is ASL?" To my
surprise the students could read the writing without any instruction. I
believe if we could use SignWriting at our school Deaf students would be able
to learn to read and write in their first language and then be able to read and
write English, their second language better.

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

I have noticed that my students have gaps in their knowledge. Their
vocabulary is very weak. They know some words as signs only. They have never
seen the English word on paper before. They know some words in print but do
not know a sign for them. They know of real world objects but do not know a
sign or printed word for it. This makes it very difficult when the students
are fully included in all subjects, all day. Much time is spent explaining.
Luckily my students grasp the ideas quickly.

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

I was hoping that SignWriting might help fill in the gaps- that once the
students could read and write in SignWriting they would be reading and writing
more and thereby gaining all that exposure that they have been missing. Once
we got the ball rolling, I would hope that it would pick up speed, and their
reading and writing would blossom as never before.

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?

I imagine that my students and I would like to use the web page to do both:
write our opinions and feedback about SignWriting and display the students
writing assignments.

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....

Our group is comprised of four students: two Deaf and two Hard of Hearing,
three girls and one boy ages 11 to 13. This group has just completed sixth
grade, and it is the first year we all have been together. Two girls moved
into the district over last summer. One deaf girl and one Hard of Hearing girl
both are signers. They knew our one Deaf boy from school as babies three years
old. So it was a reunion for them. Our Deaf boy and Hard of hearing girl
moved into the district four years ago. The girl did not sign but has been
picking up signing from our full-time interpreter and the other students who
sign ever since. For all of my students, writing is a difficult task. They
are reluctant to do any kind of writing. However the students think that
SignWriting is neat and are really motivated to start reading and writing with
it in September. I'm looking forward to receiving my first shipment of
material which should arrive soon. I'm eager to start planning for September.
Until my next report, thanks for reading, enjoy life, and drop us a line; we'd
love to hear from you!

Deborah Holden, Teacher

Averill Park Central School District
146 Gettle Road
Averill Park, NY. 12018


Valerie ;-)


Valerie Sutton..............................................SignWritingSite

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

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