Inspiring Stories About SignWriting

SignWriting signwriting at MAC.COM
Tue Nov 24 22:46:37 UTC 2009

SignWriting List
November 24, 2009

Hello Stefan!
THANK YOU for this inspiring story about SignWriting. And I love this  

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Reading below, to summarize, you are teaching children as young as  
four years old, and students who are older teenagers...and students  
are now writing by hand because they are practicing regularly.

And you are using SignPuddle with the students and teachers...that is  
nice to know! And I agree that Steve Slevinski has given us a true  
gift...we all use it everyday ...

I would love to see your student's writing of course, if you get their  
permission to show it to us...and isn't it wonderful that you are  
using SignWriting in all subjects, in science, history, math and so  

And I know that the old SignWriter DOS 4.4 is still being used in your  
school too. I had a long conversation with Rich Gleaves two days ago  
and I told him and he was so pleased to know that his work more than a  
decade ago is still useful to you...

And you are introducing SignWriting to American visitors too? Ha! That  
is terrific...;-)

Thank you, Stefan, for taking time to tell us of your inspiring  

Anyone else have an inspiring story to tell?

Val ;-)


On Nov 24, 2009, at 2:06 PM, Stefan Wöhrmann wrote:

> Hi Val and sw-list,
> well you are right - there is quite a number of people who ask for the
> chance to get first-hand impression how it looks like to implement
> GebaerdenSchrift in the daily routine of teaching.
> Some weeks ago a woman from the US showed up and she got that much
> interested. Looking at our documents she understood that her own  
> goal to
> become fluent in ASL would be supported with this method.
> Within our facility GebaerdenSchrift is used in the meantime by  
> several
> colleagues - starting in the kindergarten with very young deaf and  
> hard of
> hearing children up to students of about 17 - 18 years. One of my  
> colleagues
> is eager and very much on his way to become an expert in handwriting!!
> Others just take advantage of using the SignPuddle Dictionary. That  
> is fine
> and I am positive that in time more and more will understand better  
> - smile.
> On a regular basis I offer workshops in this field for people of our
> facility.
> In the past I expressed my doubts about the chances that my students  
> will
> improve with their own writing GebaerdenSchrift documents.
> I am very happy to report that constant training in writing by hand is
> leading to major progress. The attached foto is  typical for what we  
> are
> doing right now three times a week in this group. What I learn from  
> this is
> that I need to allow and to motivate the students to spend time on  
> copying
> well written documents, to become familiar with some difficult to  
> write
> movement symbols and most of the often used hand shapes in almost  
> all 96
> orientations - Some hand shapes are difficult to write - but  
> repeating this
> task several times is a good method to make them feel confident.  
> Just as me
> - smile!
> I am teaching very young children at the kindergarten and two groups  
> of deaf
> and hard of hearing students  (14 to 16 years old) .
> It is so amazing to watch 4year old kids reading the SW Flashcards  
> (sign
> names, colours, numbers, animals).
> Both groups of my students developed excellent reading skills and  
> are on
> their way to become good SW-writers. This is important to encourage  
> them to
> add new entries to the SignPuddle dictionary - smile.
> If you are interested I could get their permission to copy some  
> pages from
> their exercise booklets. Right now we are working to transcribe a  
> poem in
> Signed German and write it down in DGS (German Sign Language) as well.
> Afterwards I plan videos of their SL performance.
> Where do we use GebaerdenSchrift at school? Almost everywhere:
> Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Politics, German, Mathematics,  
> Geography,  --
> we collect many many vocabularies in our German SignPuddle.
> I understand better that we need a really big dictionary with some  
> thousands
> of entries so that it should make sense to search for a given sign.
> Reading all the comments about the reasons to be sceptic about the  
> worth of
> SignWriting I have to admit that those people probably do not have  
> to deal
> with our problems to explain such a variety of topics to deaf  
> children...
> Nobody of these sceptic people would be able to sign our contents  
> without
> the support of Steve Slevinskys ingenious software!!
> During school lessons I am writing documents as well with the good old
> SignWriter 4.4. And this is a very important support to develop better
> Spoken Language skills. For years my deaf students had been in  
> trouble to
> write correct German grammar. Now we practice every day to translate  
> German
> Sign Language documents in Spoken German. So what is going on is  
> that the
> deaf students transform the SL Grammar instantly to Spoken German   
> grammar
> and this is a wonderful experience to see that it is working.
> OK - enough for now.
> All the best
> Stefan
> -----Urspr√ľngliche Nachricht-----
> Von: sw-l-bounces at
> [mailto:sw-l-bounces at] Im Auftrag von  
> Valerie Sutton
> Gesendet: Dienstag, 24. November 2009 20:24
> An: SignWriting List
> Betreff: {Spam} Re: AW: [sw-l] Lessons in ISWA Symbols
> SignWriting List
> November 24, 2009
> Hello Stefan -
> What is remarkable about your work, is the way you create an
> illustration from your photos...I love your illustrations...this is
> very beautiful -
> I hope you will tell us your inspiring stories about your work with
> SignWriting...I know you have visitors from all over the world,
> visiting your classroom, and also other teachers are starting to get
> interested in SignWriting at your school?
> Val;-)
> -------
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