Does a Deaf Person Communicate in Society?
students begin the project by having a class discussion
on the different ways deaf people can communicate.
We work cooperatively to create a KWL Chart depicting
the prior knowledge of the students and what we
hope to learn upon completion of this project.
The students are then introduced to the sign language
alphabet, using the Internet to view it at www.apples4teachers.com
Each student practices signing 5 letters everyday.
When the students learn to show all 26 letters,
as required, they are assessed. Following assessment,
the students are given time daily to work in pairs
to sign sentences using the following books: The
American Sign Language Phrase Book
by Lou Fant; Sign Language Made Simple
by Karen B. Lewis and Roxanne Henderson; and Signing:
How to Speak with your Hands by
Elaine Costello. As the students look through
the books, they come up with different sentences
and learn how to present them, as would a deaf
person. Upon completion of the project, the students
make a pictograph in Microsoft Excel (see
example) and vote on what they think is the
best way deaf people communicate. They also go
and type their sentences in sign language as well
as answer the question: How do deaf people communicate
in society? Students then conduct workshops with
other grade levels to present information about
this topic. They also discuss the value of tolerance
and why it is important not to discriminate against
Language Arts, Social Studies, Health, Math, and
2 - 6
objective of this unit is for students to gain
an understanding of the ways deaf people communicate
in society. Moreover, students will gain an appreciation
for handicapped people.
The Internet is used throughout this project to
support content, reinforce process, and achieve
goals. Students go online to gain background knowledge
on how deaf people communicate. They go to www.apples4teachers.com
to study the sign alphabet and to www.soundkeepers.com
to translate their sentences and answers into
sign. In addition, students can obtain images
to insert into their graphs via the Internet.
Materials used include a computer with Internet
access, Excel software, and a printer. Books include
The American Sign Language Phrase
Book by Lou Fant; Sign
Language Made Simple by Karen B.
Lewis and Roxanne Henderson; and Signing
How to Speak with your Hands by
Elaine Costello. A white board and markers are
Students use information, technology, and other
tools; speak for a variety of purposes and audiences;
listen in a variety of situations; read materials
and texts with comprehension and critical analysis;
view, understand, and use nontextual visual information;
and receive and use constructive feedback. They
give directions and/or instructions; use visual
aids and nonverbal behaviors to support spoken
messages; use clear, concise, language in speaking
situations; speak before a group to defend an
opinion; and present an oral interpretation. They
connect mathematics to other disciplines; use
calculators, computers, manipulatives, and other
tools to enhance understanding; utilize arts elements
and media; develop problem-solving, decision-making,
and inquiry skills; develop an understanding of
technology as an application of scientific principles;
gain an understanding of the structure, characteristics,
and basic needs of organisms; and communicate
at a basic literacy level in at least one language
other than English.
Authentic assessment is the gold standard for
this unit. Students have to demonstrate their
understanding of sign language by signing the
entire alphabet. Rubrics and ongoing observations
are used to evaluate the students’ graphs.
This unit is most suitable for students in grades
2-6. It is also appropriate for self-contained
special education classrooms because of the grouping,
constructivism, and cooperatively learning. The
tactile nature of signing is particularly suitable.
Don’t forget to share the workload. This
unit of study lends itself to collaboration between
classroom teachers and specialists. The KWL can
be used throughout the duration of the project.
Students like filling in the KWL bulletin board
each time they learn something new.
This hands-on unit contributes greatly to student
learning and achievement, and helps participants
gain tolerance and appreciation for handicapped
people. Teachers benefit from this unit because
project-based learning of this kind lends itself
easily to adaptation. It can be differentiated
to accommodate students with different learning
styles. The use of graphic organizers in the form
of KWL charts addresses the needs of accessing
prior knowledge and helps students visualize the
information. ThinkPairShare is also a useful strategy
to accompany lessons in this unit. Students thoroughly
enjoy this project while learning a great deal
about hearing-impaired people.
unit was a collaborative effort by teachers
Rosa Conte, Michael Gall, and Jeanette Nelke
of James Madison School #10, Garfield, NJ.
Gall has been a computer teacher at James
Madison School #10 in the urban district
of Garfield, NJ for two years. After receiving
his bachelor’s degree in Biological
Science from Montclair State University,
and Masters Degree in teaching from William
Paterson University, Michael was inspired
to make the world a better place—one
student at a time. The goal of his teaching
philosophy is to educate, motivate, socialize,
and prepare his students for a lifetime
of learning. Michael intends to develop
his students’ creative, intellectual
and physical potential, their sense of responsibility,
self-worth, and their respect for others.
perceives the importance of whole concepts,
thematic approaches, and critical thinking
towards implementing lessons. In his student-centered
approach, children receive a hands-on learning
experience and are able to learn to think
for themselves. Michael believes in facilitating
student learning with interdisciplinary
project based learning that infuses technology.
He strives to present information in exciting
new ways to increase intrinsic motivation.
Michael credits his own teachers, co-workers
and students for his success as an educator.