forum SignWriting List Forum
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From:  Stefan Woehrmann
Date:  Sat Jul 8, 2000  9:56 am
Subject:  classroom - experiences

Hi Valerie dear listmembers,

when I started my computer this morning (Saturday - no school) I was really
curious. Would there be any answer from the group ?

And - how wonderfull - yes - I found a wonderfull feedback on my work from
yesterday evening (late at night)

big smile - I had written these signs correctly - big smile (I thought of my
students. They offer their little hands, so that I can congratulate on their
excellent jobs - and - wow - they are performing soooooo great !

Right now we are working on the story of the "Arche Noah " . A colleague who
is teaching religion is going to paint a big poster - blue sky, gigantic
brown ship , lots of animals (always a couple - male and female )

but - what is this ? There are two lions - but both male ???????!! So we
started a discussion about this.
We talked about this story. We talked about families ....
What about the two lions ? Hmm - I can imagine that Noah allowed the two
friends to enter the Noah - should be place enough for a third lion - a
female -- (;-))))

Nevertheless - we wrote two pages DINA 4 in signwriting -- signed German -
and put these papers next to the painting wich is to be seen in front of our
classroom. For the first time all students and all teachers will get in
contact with SW - because our classroom is located next to the entrance and
you have to pass it. ;-)

It`s amazing - to see how easily my students read these comments ( The sky
is blue. There is a big ship. The ship is brown. Lots of animals are coming.
There is a lion. There is a leopard. There is an elephant. There is a brown
bear. There is ...

Iīm talking of deaf students first grade. What they do is to read , sign and
understand these meaningfull written ideas fluently and with understanding.

Sometimes I feel a little bit insecure - to offer SW - materials in both
language systems. The problem may be that some of my students have great
problems to understand this translation process that is going on if you
translate DGS in German (LBG) (= signed German- word by word order just the
way the hearing speak and write)
What I learn from this is that the competent DGS -signers havenīt got any
problems to distinguish clearly between the two systems. Itīs amazing and
wonderfull to watch them being the perfect interpreters - switching from DGS
to exactly signed German (LBG) without any trouble (once they have learned
Meanwhile - the others get confused. They can read and understand written
DGS perfectly ! So SW is a great tool to write messages and to ask them to
learn to handle written informations , which seems to be like opening the
door and preparing the path for improving literacy in German!
In contrary to the skilled signers they have difficulties to translate these
messages in correct German. They simply would write a kind of
"glossen-transcription" word by word -These students havenīt got any
language -basis - no German - no Signlanguage. They are in the process to
learn to comunicate on a higher level than they could for several years
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I donīt like these
Glossen-presentations.(What is the term in English ?)
Glossentranskription is a very popular method in Germany to explain the
wordorder in DGS to hearing people. I canīt understand why people still try
to explain SL this way because SW is soooooooooooooooooo much better to
explain what is on your mind.

So I get in trouble to find my way at school. Some of my students will get
the texts written in DGS. Some of them will get them written as SW -
documents - but written in LBG.
All of them have to perform the same task : Tell and write in German what
the text says. And they are doing great. Little fingers pushing the keys of
the keyboard while they copy the texts . Once again they are sucessfull in
finding the locations of the keys if they are typing the German phrases
underneath. Hello - Iīm talking of my first grade students !!!!!!! And what
about articulation ? Iīm convinced that translating the SW signs in spoken
words helps them a lot to improve their articulation skills. Why ? Mhhm .
Reading the German words they try to memorize the pairs of graphem and
phonem . But the letters in German are not spoken 1: 1 - So many different
ways how to speak a special letter !!!!! just depending on his "neighbours"
Identifying a SW - sign the student has to speak the German equivalent
without looking at any single letter. So he has to dig out his experiences
on how to articulate this word. Perhaps some time later I can explain
better - but it is a secret how the deaf students are able to perform so
Whenever visitors look at this process they are soooo excited. They ask for
more information about SW. They canīt believe that so far we are the only
school in Germany who is using this system because of itīs possibilities to
enrich the catalogue of variations how to support deaf students in their
process of learning to read and write.

Have a great day everybody

Stefan ;-)

----- Original Message -----
From: Jerry Spillman
Sent: Saturday, July 08, 2000 5:24 AM
Subject: Re: rotation symbols and directions

> Dear Valerie, Stefan and all the list,
> Thank You, Valerie for those nice illustrations. I now think I
> understand. What threw me off some time ago was the little curve in the
> arrows. It has to do with training I have to unlearn about taking
> fingerprints and rotation of the little finger and thumb.
> Semi-photographic memory can really mess one up sometimes, as in this
> case. But we will make it, with your help. Stefan and Ingvild, thanks
> for your questions, as those answers have helped me, too!
> Jerry.

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