Thursday, May 31, 2012

sign: OUTSIDE because its that time of year

We already mentioned last week with the sign SPRING and FLOWER that we'd be talking more about OUTSIDE and things you do and see OUTSIDE. We'll be discussing tips of how to use signs and learn new vocabulary while OUTSIDE. We spend sometime daily OUTSIDE now - there's definitely lessons to be learned and words to sign while being OUTSIDE.

What activities do you do OUTSIDE?

Tip for today: Sign OUTSIDE when you say "do you want to go OUTSIDE? Let's go OUTSIDE." (When you're out there, don't say "This is OUTSIDE" - that's too lesson driven). 

While you're out there point out all the FLOWERS. This will hopefully help too when your little one is trying to help weed that they don't pick the FLOWERS like my little one. 

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

sign: HURRICANE for What's the Sign Wednesday

Thanks Cari B. on Facebook for being the first to suggest our sign for What's the Sign Wednesday. We already have next week's sign too!

I hear there's already HURRICANES in Florida... not sure if that's true - I would have to have time to check the weather down there for that... I just heard it today so it's so funny that Cari asked for this sign now! (As well as the fact that we're having a major wind/thunderstorm here in NJ).

Sign: HURRICANE. You can see in the sign the facial expression. It's one of those very important parts of sign language. The facial expression here is important to emphasize the extreme weather of a HURRICANE. I hope no one is stuck in any HURRICANE situations right now.

Happy Signing!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Did you KNOW... ?

Did you KNOW learning sign language is growing in popularity? (Thanks to you!)
Sign: KNOW

Did you KNOW we have some great things up our sleeves including "Teaching Tuesdays," where you will find tips to teach others ASL and how to use it in your home, school, and facility. We'll wait until after May's Better Speech and Hearing Month is over though. Some other things are so hot, we can't talk about them yet!

Did you KNOW American Sign Language...

  1. is a complete complex language 
  2. is not universal (meaning if you go to France or Spain you will find their sign language there).
  3. originated with assistance of Thomas Gallaudet of Washington D.C and Laurent Clerc from France over 200 years ago.
  4. is one of the top 5 languages in the US, Canada, and parts of Mexico
  5. is recognized as a second/foreign language requirement in almost all colleges and now a growing number of high schools.
  6. is not word order like English
  7. is different depending on regions of the US and the age of the signer (meaning, it changes over time like any other language).
  8. Gallaudet University was the first Deaf college located in Washington D.C. 

* Info thanks to & me.

Did you KNOW we still have spots in our classes coming up! Go check them out! (click here)

Monday, May 28, 2012


Enjoy this day with your family and friends.

From our family to yours, Happy Memorial Day

Friday, May 25, 2012

sign: SMART. Product review: Signing Smart. Great ASL product for babies

I was fortunate enough to get my hands on Signing SMART's sign language products a couple months ago. ... and well, it was a hit! 

Little Fingers signed TWO signs immediately (literally - during the movie)! One she already signed before (BABY) but the other she didn't! 

Dr. Michelle Anthony and Dr. Reyna Linder created Signing SMART when they became new parents and quickly learned there were not many resources available for the true hectic lifestyles of parents to teach their children enriched language skills.  Dr. Anthony and Dr. Linder went to school together and got their PhDs in Developmental Psychology.

They both believe in my same philosophies of using ASL to teach sign language versus baby signs or home made signs. It's just so important to understand the importance of a philosophy I once heard in Dr. Garcia's book, Sign With Your Baby "It Takes A Language To Learn Another" - I can't stress that enough (and that's just one of the many reasons who to use ASL - we'll talk about that more later).

The use of the puppet-like bear with the very animated music and upbeat rhythms Lil was immediately interested. She signed BABY immediately and then signed PLAY. She was immediately drawn to the movie, which she isn't for many shows. She typically doesn't care about the TV (unless it's Signing Time, Fresh Beat Band and now this!).

We're happy to have stumbled upon Signing SMART. So happy that we decided to stock their DVDs and you can find their DVDs in our online store now!

Sign: SMART! 
(2 parter)

Sign: SMART - first you put your middle finger on your forehead and then twist it out (so your palm is facing your communication partner).

Thursday, May 24, 2012

sign: COFFEE because everyone needs a pick-me-up Uncle Matty's COFFEE Syrup!

I stumbled upon this great COFFEE and had to share! Uncle Matty from the New England area created this great COFFEE syrup and sure helps with the pick-me-up I needed this morning! I looked up the COFFEE syrup because I never heard of it. I laughed because COFFEE MILK is called the drink of choice in Rhode Island (which is like Boost to local Riverside / Delran folks here in New Jersey - meaning the drink you can't live without!). So with that being said - I had to share it with you! Of course, Ms. Lil isn't trying it but it's a nice change for my drinks in my morning.

The best part is the COFFEE syrup can be added to other beverages to create new drinks. I thought that was clever, so I contacted him. He said yes it's great for COFFEE MILK, COFFEE sodas, and other beverages. He even offered a deal to my fans/readers. Get a Free Uncle Matty's tee-shirt if you email him a recipe of how you can use Uncle Matty's COFFEE syrup! You can email with your great idea.   I was thinking of trying to put it in my protein shakes with Arbonne chocolate protein power with MILK! I'll let you know how I make out with it!!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

sign: BEACH & OCEAN for WTSW

Thank you Staci B from our Facebook page who made today's suggestion for 'Beach; .. unfortunately the sign for 'Beach' is fingerspelled ... so I'll also gave you OCEAN. For those of us who live in areas we call 'beaches' -->'shores' - that's fingerspelled too! 

But this upcoming weekend does unofficial start the celebration of summer so it's definitely appropriate! 

So we have a video for OCEAN and fingerspelled B-E-A-C-H

The sign OCEAN is quite simple - first you sign WATER and then make the natural movement of waves with both arms/hands for the sign OCEAN.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

How I use ASL in SCHOOL...

I thought being it's still BSHM (Better Speech & Hearing Month) it was appropriate to post an article I wrote for Talk It Up Therapy about how I use ASL in school. Make sure you read the whole thing for some great games I created to use to learn sign language

Currently I don’t see elementary or middle school age students on my case load. I do work with high school students though and therapy can get pretty tricky to maintain their attention and motivation for even as little as the 30 minutes given to me to work with them. 

So … just recently I started an agreement with a few groups that if they got done what we needed to accomplish, then I would give them a quick mini-sign language lesson at the end of their session. This idea went over great! The girls in different groups thought it was ‘hot’ (their words – not mine) and so it began! But first – we started with a figurative language lesson because how could I pass up the opportunities to talk about ‘hot’ as in anything but the actual temperature ‘hot’! As that moment passed and I got my lesson accomplished, we moved onto a quick lesson in sign language! Ta-da – success! I signed SEE YOU LATER and away they went. And let me tell you – they remembered the next week!

Fortunately when I do work with elementary school kiddos they are quite more compliant so I don’t have to coerce them so much. But how would I use sign language with middle school students in therapy? There’s a few games that could work on your goals and incorporate sign language. 

1.     SignBurst!
a.     Players required: 2 +
b.     Items needed: a timer, a pile of cards that are your target words for the session (and perhaps a couple previous sessions), and available hands! On each card with the target word should be additional related words (either synonyms, antonyms, associations, etc.)
c.      Rules: One student will sign the word and the other students are required to come up with the synonym (or antonym if that is what you are working on) for the word. So for example, the word on the card is ‘happy’. Other words on the card are ‘glad,’ ‘excited,’ ‘cheerful,’ ‘blissful,’ ‘joyful,’ etc.  The one student would sign HAPPY and the other students would have to beat the timer with as many words as they can think of for ‘happy’. **If the students don’t remember the sign given (e.g. HAPPY) then fingerspelling is permitted – not speech! H-A-P-P-Y.
2.     Deaf-ine it!
a.     Players required: 4 + (two groups of two minimum)
b.     Items needed: target words written out on index cards or from a worksheet
c.      Rules: With the timer started, one person reads the definition of the word to his/her partner(s). The partner(s) is required to sign the correct response. The team member reading the definitions continue to read more definitions until the timer goes off. For example: definition: “it’s round and tells times.” Other partner must sign CLOCK; and continue to the next definition. Points will be given for each correct response. The other team follows the same directions. At the end of each round, the team with the most points wins that match.
3.     Sign What? (the play on words – “Say What?”)
a.     Players required: however many other students during that therapy session
b.     Items needed: a story or article
c.      Rules: You (the clinician) read the story and emphasize the important parts in sign. The students need to know what the signs are prior to the story being read.  After the story is complete, you ask the appropriate comprehension questions. The person who remembers the correct answers gets a point. If he/she remembers the sign too, they get an additional point.

These are just a few ideas. In my therapies, I find it’s critical to rehearse word-finding skills. I find that almost everything I do has some word retrieval practice in there somewhere. Using sign language (limb gross and fine motor skills) can help jug the memory of the word(s) the student is trying to think of. Using sign language paired with the spoken word works different areas of the brain with the whole – here it comes big words – visuospatial memory! A student’s sure to remember a definition to a new word or concepts heard in a story when signs are attached to it.  The use of sign language allows for a fun new interactive way to teach the same ol’ goals.  I am able to get across my semantic language, following directions, auditory processing/comprehension, and pragmatic goals using the three goals discussed above.  Sign language comes across as a ‘hot’ way to learn the concepts they prefer not to rehearse.  Success in my book! Sign on!

Don't forget to check out our store - we have a great game See It and Sign It (click here). We're going to have a awesome product review on it soon! 

sign: SCHOOL

Monday, May 21, 2012

sign: FLOWER

SPRING time means FLOWERS! Little Fingers got her fingers on my FLOWERS!
I hope you can see these awesome pink sunglasses - 
they're stylin'!
She truly was helping me weed!
I just posted recently SPRING because we have some beautiful SPRING weather. So I was trying think what goes with SPRING - certainly FLOWERS. 

Friday, May 18, 2012

Brown Bear Brown Bear wrapping up!

We're still working to finish this if the computer can hang in there! Gotta love technology!
ASL Brown bear

sign language animals

More worksheets to come!

How do you use Brown Bear Brown Bear? What variations have you used? I'd love to hear!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

PROUD moment with the unexpected sign CRACKER

Two days ago (5/15/12), we had a very PROUD moment here in our house. Little Fingers signed CRACKER - sounds like just another day because she's saying and signing new things frequently but this one is extra special because it really was eye opening for me. 

We weren't really focusing on CRACKER like we were with MILK, YOGURT, PLEASE, JUICE, CEREAL, MOMMY & DADDY and a couple others. But the point is - CRACKER was only touched upon quickly in passing. And to show the natural sponge she is - she picked up on it from the Baby Signing Time DVDs and from the natural ways we use it when giving her a cracker. We'd sign it in passing, shopping, pointing, putting food away - but never in a teaching moment.

Of course I have up'ed the ante and began signing BUNNY for her favorite BUNNY CRACKERS.  Yesterday our babysitter said Little Fingers signed MORE CRACKERS all day. haha - too too funny! Now, here's the speechie in me - I know she's ready for something new. One thing I always teach in class - be careful of over generalization - don't get so excited that they are signing that you forget to move on to the next sign! So our new sign of the week: CRACKER

compliments of Sign2Me

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

sign: MOON for What's the Sign Wednesday

Thanks to Julie (on Facebook) for the suggestion of MOON. I immediately think of all the books I'm reading with Little Fingers right now. 

Goes great with my next books I'm thinking about after Brown Bear Brown Bear - some of Sandra Boynton's book - The Good Night Book and others! 

So the sign MOON - Julie's right - it's in So Many books!  So here you go! The sign MOON!
Of course, there's variation - here's two of them (mine is a modified C handshape starting at the forehead and going up diagonally while the other is just a simple whole C handshape doing the same movement). 

Variation #2

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