One very helpful method in teaching sign is to go on a signing field trip. What this entails is more of a silent, ASL-only walk around the school in order to point out certain rooms, descriptions, and other things that are important signs. This is a fantastic way to connect the real-world with the signs that are expected to be used.
It is best to do this in small groups, or to have assistant teachers accompany the group on the “field trip.” The signing should start immediately! Children should know that voices are off during this field trip, and that they should only use ASL to communicate.
Begin by showing children the sign for door, window, bathroom, etc. Teaching signs in this manner creates a connection between a foreign idea such as sign language, and the real world around them. Chances are, they will recall the signs when they see the places in real life. You can do this with as many or as few signs as you think your group should know.
A signing field trip is also helpful in other settings. Some teachers will take children to a park, or outside on the playground to do a signing field trip. They can teach the signs for tree, flower, airplane, and much more. Teaching these signs in an environment where they can see, hear, and even touch the items helps to reinforce the sign for new signers.
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