Monday, January 28, 2013

letter of the week: V

Letter of the week: V

I don't have much for V - I'll have to do some looking!

OH! I do have that great VALENTINE'S Coloring page (click here!)! Do you want it and don't have a TeachersPayingTeachers account? Email us! or comment here!

Friday, January 25, 2013

What's the differences between sign language and baby sign language

I always run into the comment, "Oh it's so nice (or so cute) that you're teaching Little Fingers baby signs!" ... and I cringe. Depending on the person and situation, I smile and says, 'thanks' and continue on. Other times I may say, 'Well we use real concepts from American Sign Language' ... or something along those lines.

Or when I am teaching Mommy & Me or did my research study in 2008, I emphasized 'sign language with babies' - this concept is very different than Baby Signs! I know it's easier to say Baby Sign Language but... they are not one in the same.

Why do I make such a big deal out of this? Because research warrants the amazing results with ASL concepts for babies. When I first starting teaching sign language to others, one of my favorite lines to say came from Joseph Garcia from Signing With Your Baby... It Takes A Language to Learn a Language! 

American Sign Language is a legitimate language (We've already talked this topic before, click here!). The quick of it is - Baby Signs is not a true language. .. which is a shame because the origin of Baby Sign came from two wonderfully educated women who did substantial research proving using gestural communication with infants and toddlers promotes language development, positive social skills, joint attention and all other positive communication skills. (I am not one to bash other people or companies, so I prefer to keep things nameless if that's ok with you). 

BUT... Baby Signs does not use all concepts in ASL and creates some fake signs. For example, the sign 'bird' is a person flapping like they have wings. The sign BIRD in ASL is the pointer finger and thumb at the mouth/chin like a bird's beak. (keep in mind the sign BIRD in ASL is capitalized, because it is considered 'glossed'. Remember that discussion? Click here!)

Why is this important?
Before going into a dissertation on the topic, the highlights are:

  • it takes a language to learn a language
  • carry over is inconsistent with Baby Signs. If a child is taught homemade signs and signs that accommodate their lifestyles, they cannot use them in other settings (e.g. daycare, community, school, etc).
    • sign language reduces the guesswork in a toddlers/infants' thought process with their communicators (e.g. parents). If their signs are made up, then the guesswork comes back! That's not fun! It's like the pointing game. While a infant/toddlers first gesture is the point and it's extremely meaningful and effective... after a certain it's important to move away from the point Katie @ PlayingWithWords365 wrote a great blog post about the importance of pointing (click here!).
  • ASL is not taught to infants and toddlers for its grammatical concepts, which is where people get confused. But using real gestures that mean something to more than the person who created them (e.g. mommy or daddy) leads to easier growth and learning for the child. 

I just emphasize to moms and dads looking for a sign language class, book, and/or DVD for your infant or toddler to make sure it's not actual Baby Signs. There are many companies that promote ASL concepts. By no means are we discussing ASL using the language concepts grammatically-speaking (e.g. mouth morphemes, etc. - now that's another day's discussion for sure!) - but using true signs will help with language and communication growth. 

Ms Little Fingers signing HORSE
(this is the end of the sign for her)
P.S I didn't realize how hard it is to get her to pose
for a signing pic! LOL!
I am aware of the fine motor concerns with infants and young toddlers and it's reasoning to creating Baby Signs. I still have the same feelings though. What I teach my moms and dads is this: sign the sign as it's supposed to be signed. If your little one signs it incorrectly, don't necessarily always correct them, but you keep signing it correctly. Modeling is key! They think they are signing it right - I promise! As they continue to develop,  so will their signs! You can see from Ms Little Fingers signing HORSE - she's not on the top of her head like she should be. .. I continued to model it with positive praise that she was signing it correctly ... her handshape was correct (she moved her two fingers like the horse's ears), ... it was just a couple inches off of where it should have been! Don't worry folks - I didn't break the bank over it. And guess what, she's since signing it correctly!

If you are looking for a class, check SigningTime Academy. If they don't have instructors in your area, let me know. I know a few other great companies that might be able to help!

Happy Signing!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

sign: UP for Letter of the week - U

Sign: UP

I like this word because UP can be used for so many things. 
- Pick Me UP 
- Zipper UP (as you teach zippering)
- UP the road

What's another way you can use UP or are currently using UP?

Monday, January 21, 2013

letter of the week: U

Letter of the week: U

(not to be confused with V so please keep your #2 and 3 fingers together!)

Thursday, January 17, 2013

T words/signs during our ASL Challenge!

This week is T week... 

Ms Little Fingers has some T signs that she still signs each morning on our way to the babysitters ...

And she learned a new T sign! I was so excited! She love love loves TRAINS and she finally signed it! She can say it, which is great but for this ASL Challenge I'm trying to get her to gain a larger signing vocabulary too!  Because I'm just a curious mom ;)

I actually tried TEACHER!! Yes I know, she's not even two yet but she loves the Brown Bear Brown Bear book ... and she was reading (like she does in our rocking chair.. well the picture is Polar Bear Polar Bear, but you get it!) ... and she kept pointing to the teacher! So I said 'teacher,' she said 'teacher!' ... I didn't expect that! As the speechie - the 'ch' sound and the two syllables! wow! So I up'ed the anty! I signed it! She tried and started but didn't finish .. either way, here's TEACHER

How's your ASL Challenge going!? 

Monday, January 14, 2013

letter of the week: T

We're winding down the alphabet I feel like.

Letter of the week: T!

What T words are you looking for this week??

Don't forget our app giveaway ending tomorrow night! Click here!

We also have Valentine's Activities - did you see them? (click here!)

Sunday, January 13, 2013

sign: VALENTINES. We created a free Valentine's Day sign language coloring page

Valentine's Day is around the corner! 
Enjoy this free Valentine's Day coloring page with the sign: VALENTINES

You can find it here on TeachersPayingTeachers

We ALSO have a Valentine's Day Sign Language packet created on TeachersPayingTeachers. The Valentine's packet has different activities:

  • Fingerspelling word scramble 
  • sign to word match 
  • flashcards with signs and words on them to play memory
  • the coloring page you see below

Here's a preview of the coloring page. 

For those who don't use TeachersPayingTeachers, feel free to comment below, on Facebook, or email us if you would like the free coloring page.

And here's a cute Valentine's Day craft (click here) I posted last year with a little sign language in it (don't worry I know it's early for some so I'll repost this when it gets closer).

Saturday, January 12, 2013

S is for SWEET! SWEET as in - SWEET I'm so excited (read below to find out why)

Today's the last day of the week... I have a little surprise for you... Signing Simon! For those who were introduced back in the spring, well he had a transformation last week and ta-da (as Ms. Little Fingers says)! What do you think of Signing Simon?

Stay tuned! You'll be seeing a lot of Signing Simon in my first paid product on TeachersPayingTeachers! I will write another post explaining it 
all - don't worry! :) 

Friday, January 11, 2013

"ASL Baby Sign" iPad App review & giveaway

Sign Language App Review & Giveway!
"ASL Baby Sign"

I had the opportunity of reviewing a great app!

"ASL Baby Sign" application on the iPad is definitely under estimated by being called “ASL Baby Sign.” This app clearly has the capabilities of helping educators, parents, and other individuals desiring to learn sign language. "ASL Baby Sign" has awesome features unexpected in an ASL app – especially named “ASL Baby Sign.”

What I expected:
  • Simple basic signs that can be taught to an infant, toddler, and young child.
  • Basic flashcards child-friendly.

What I saw:
  • An experienced interpreter signing 170+ signs
  • Cute cartoons used
  • The word presented with the sign and audio

What I didn’t expected:
  • The awesome feature to edit the words on the screen (not that you want to edit them too much – I found the signs quite reliable but perhaps you wanted to put a capital letter versus a lower case or make it say “D for dog”).
  • The ability to record your own voice so the person using the app hears that familiarity.
  •  The ability to add pictures to the photo gallery for potentially better recognition of the sign (how cool!)
  •  All this hard work you put into it can of course be saved (bonus) for future uses.
  • The low price of $1.99

I was highly impressed. My expectations clearly were not in the same mind set as this app. I was expecting something strictly young child friendly and that’s it but I guess the therapist and educator in me saw this app having so much more potential than it’s title leads it to believe.

So with that being said, its negative:
  •    The title!

It clearly doesn’t portray all the great things this ASL app can do with a title like “ASL Baby Sign.” So many of the apps geared towards babies and sign language are so basic. This was not! 

I highly recommend this app for parents and educators. If you didn't previously check out our ASL Dictionary app review (from the same company, AppSavers), click here!

Here you go! Good luck to the FIVE lucky winners of this great ASL Baby Sign app redemption code!! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

You can check them out on Facebook

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

She talks now! Why do we Still Use Sign Language?

I know we talked about this before but I thought new year ... maybe we need a refresher. Miss Little Fingers is a couple months shy of two now ... and her language development is just exploding. We (my husband and me) thank sign language for that. She's been signing now for over a year and talking for many months. So that burning question some have, why do we still sign?

For the young ones and her younger months, we use sign language because it:
This is one of her first signs from
riding this car. sign: CAR and MORE.
This is several months ago! She
Still asking for CAR and RIDE!
- allowed us the ability to know what she wanted
- therefore, reduced our frustrations and her tantrums!
- increased vocabulary skills
- increased joint attention skills
- increased visual attention skills

Now, she's almost two and she has lots of 2-3 word phrases and tons of single words, why are we still signing!?
- increases her social skills
- increases her visual attention
- increases her vocabulary
- increases her reading abilities and desire to read (I have an avid reader on my hands!)
- reduces 'terrible two's' - ok I'm not going to say she doesn't tantrum but I can say that she is familiar with sign language in her life so what happens? She starts to get upset, I sign different things I think she may be upset about and it refocuses her and/or reminds her 'hey if mommy doesn't understand the words I'm trying to say, I can sign them!' 

And the best part, her pop pop knows some of the signs! It goes to show she truly uses them not just with me and daddy, but with the babysitter, mom mom, pop pop, and anyone else in her path if there's something she wants to comment on or ask for! Watch out - her fingers are moving!

I think the speechie in me is going to investigate further just how large her vocabulary is but she surprises us daily. So stay tuned for an update on that. Also, more sign language benefits coming soon!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

S signs for S letter of the week (learn 3 new signs in ASL)

Letter of the Week: S

Here's a couple S words we've once talked about for some reason or another ...

SPOON - I remember when we were teaching Little Fingers how to use a SPOON (click here to read that wonder story in our 'high chair saga's')

SHOES: I have a SHOE girl on my hands. While she enjoys taking them off, she also enjoys picking them out! She's not even two years old! So obviously, the sign SHOES came early in her vocabulary!

Sign: SIGNING. Little Fingers has been SIGNING this sign for quite some time now because she sings and signs the theme song from Baby SIGNING TIME! Too cute! Too funny!
(compliments of 

The Challenge - take the Sign Language Challenge With Us!

It's a new year, time for new things!

Come take the challenge with us!

From now (1/8/13) until Valentine's Day (2/14/13), how many signs can you teach your child(ren) or teach yourself? Make a goal and stick to it! If you already know sign language, maybe you want to teach someone else 5 signs in a month. Make a challenge and see if you can stick to it for a month.

On Valentine's Day, we will pick a winner from those who post their comments about the experience in our discussion posting on Facebook.

My personal goal is:
1. to learn 10 new signs myself 
2. to teach Little Fingers and have her sign 10 new signs herself

Take the Challenge and maybe you'll win a prize!

What's your Challenge!?

Good luck!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Letter of the Week: S (S is for SNOW )

Back to letter of the week!

S for SNOW, so many people have SNOW - jealous! Who has SNOW right now? What's your favorite thing to do in SNOW?

Be careful, S and A are a lot of like. Click here to see our A fingerspelled.

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