signwriting literacy project Albuquerque ?

Valerie Sutton sutton at SIGNWRITING.ORG
Tue Aug 12 17:12:51 UTC 2003

SignWriting List
August 12, 2003

Dear SignWriting List:
Kate Lee is a teacher who has used SignWriting in her classroom with 
Deaf children in Albuquerque since 1998...Recently Anne-Claude asked 
her questions. Kate is now working towards her masters degree, and had 
to leave teaching temporarily, but she shared these answers with me and 
I am now sharing them with you, because I think they are important...

The teachers in Albuquerque are not just using SignWriting 
"occasionally"...they are using it breathing is a 
part of being in their classroom...

Because Kate will be on leave to study at the university this year, the 
teacher who will take her place with the Deaf children, has already 
chosen to use SignWriting too...continuing with SignWriting as 
always...So teachers in Albuquerque are choosing to use SignWriting, 
because they feel it is an important part of their daily teaching...

Here is an excerpt from the questionnaire...

> Since when did you (you and your tema) introduce SW in your class(es)?

Kate Lee answered:
I think we started using SW in 1998.  We showed it to the students.  
They played with it, decoded it with very little instruction, and since 
we have been trying to keep up with their learning curve.

> How long did it take for your team (the professionnals) to get used to
> SW before introducing SW to che children ?(or did the professionnel
> learn and developped it at the same time children were learning it ) 
> did
> you organise courses for the teachers?

Kate Lee answered:
Cecilia Flood, (our school counselor, teacher and PhD grad) brought it 
to our attention because she wanted to use SW for her dissertation.  
She was the most knowledgable of SW.  The classroom teachers and the 
students learned it at the same time, together.  It was a wonderful 
experience for all of us.

> Did you prepare specific teaching material before introducing SW to
> the children or did you only use Valerie Sutton's material (after 
> havint
> translated it into your sign language)?

Kate Lee answered:
At first, we used Valerie's books, then we created materials to match 
our content at the time.

> Do any deaf child take part in the project or do you only select some
> of them ? (if so what are your criterias?)

Kate Lee answered:
I offer it to all of the students.  It is totally optional with the 
exception of using it for new vocab words and vocab lists that they 
take home for independent work.

> Do you use SW for particular lessons (maths, grammar, .. others.)?

Kate Lee answered:
Yes. Exposure to SignWriting occurs throughout the day, all day.

> how many hours a week is SW used in the class (approximately)?

Kate Lee answered:
I can't really separate it out of the environment.  The students have 
access all day and for whatever they choose to use it for.  I am not 
rigid with its use.  I let the kids "own" (take responsibility for) 
their learning and SignWriting is one tool to demonstrate their 

>  Do you have the feeling that children who used SW are able to transfer
> these skills to writing and reading english?

Kate Lee answered:
Yes. I have provided texts in both languages and the students have been 
known to cross reference the two texts in their quest for decoding and 
overall comprehension.

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