Using Sign Language in the Classroom

There is a TON of reserch out there supporting the use of sign language in the classroom regardless of whether or not you have hearing impaired students.  Check out this teaching tip to use sign language in the classroom to assist with classroom management:

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Incorporating sign language into your early childhood classroom not only assists with classroom management, but it is also promotes the long term retention of concepts by utilizing various modalities during instruction (to learn more about Howard Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences click here).

In my classroom, we use simple signs in a variety of ways.  Probably my favorite way to incorporate sign language in the classroom is with music.  During my calendar time, students will sign and sing  the months of the year, the days of the week, etc.  I also use sign language with songs and books, such as Brown Bear.  One fabulous resource that I was introduced to this summer was the Signing Time videos.  These are fantastic!  Here is a video clip from one of the videos:

Click here to go to the Signing Time website for more information on their products.

Another resource that I love for learning new signs is the online ASL dictionary, which you can find here.  Just search for the signs they are alphabetically listed.  This website helped me tremendously, because I seem to have a more difficult time learning signs from books or pictures.  The videos of the signs are great, and most of the basic signs (colors, shapes, Days of the week, etc) can be found at this site.

Here are some links to printable sign language resources:

  1. Baby Sign Flash Cards from Leading to Read
  2. ASL Letter Flashcards
  3. Basic ASL Survival Signs

Here are some other links to great sign language resources:

  1. Sign to Succeed Blog
  2. Babies and Sign Language there is simply a TON of information here.  Great informational articles too.

Feel free to let me know of any other great resources that are available!  Thanks for looking!


2 thoughts on “Using Sign Language in the Classroom

  1. lauraslefthook says:

    I love Signing Time!

    I would suggest checking other ASL dictionaries online; I have heard from several fluent in ASL that ASLpro is not reliable.

    I use because it links to several online dictionaries and I can compare them. is a great place to find an online class to work through for learning ASL on your own or with a group.

  2. Anna Candeloro says:

    I use sign language during my guided reading.
    “P” is for when students have made a prediction (give a thumbs up if it’s correct)
    “K” when they know what is going to happen next or know an answer to my question
    “C” when they’ve made a connection to the story and a “c” raised high when its a VERY strong connection they would like to share. (note: the difference was discussed prior to this differentiation. The students know a VERY strong connection will benefit all of the readers by helping them to create a better image of the story in their heads)
    “Idea” when they have made an inference
    “Ask” when they have a question about something

    These techniques truly help my guided reading flow because I know which students to call on depending on what I’m looking for. It also allows the students to share that they are using the skills they have been taught without interrupting my lesson.

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