Occasionally, in my classes, I like to throw out little dilemma or problem situations that students must research and learn more about in order to make an informed decision. I’ve done this with baby sign language when teaching about infant language development in child development two different ways. Prior to going 1:1, I assigned this as an informational interactive foldable project, which could easily be used with interactive notebooks. I’ve also had my students use their iPads to learn more about the topic and then complete a writing assignment, applying their new-found knowledge. I also like my students to learn and share some easy signs with the class in an engaging and fun manner, where students have to use their brains and memory in addition to their hands!
- I give students the following dilemma:You’ve heard some other parents talk about baby sign language, but you’re not sure if it’s something you should be doing with your baby or not. So…to make a decision, you need to learn more about it. Use your iPad to conduct your own research. This is what you need to find out:
- What is baby sign language?
- Why do parents use it?
- What are the benefits for both baby and parent(s)?
- What age can I begin this with my baby?
- What are some things I need to keep in mind if I choose to do this? (2 minimum)
- If you plan to do this as the foldable, you will find the guide sheet below under attachments.
- iPads or Laptops
- Construction Paper (if using foldable)
- Glue & Scissors (if using foldable)
- I also like to assign a word from this chart to my students (it’s also a cheat sheet for me). They are to find out how to sign it and demonstrate it to the rest of the class. I do this as a memory game…where students sit in a circle and the first person to volunteer (prior to knowing the game/rules) shares their word and signs it and then the next person has to share the previous word and sign and then add their own and it continues until it gets to me (I’m always last, but students don’t know that until the very end.) and I have to do all of the words and signs. It’s a lot of fun, but also challenging to remember! It reinforces the idea that if you’re going to do this with your baby, you need to practice, practice, practice!
- Sometimes, I also have students prepare a visual that provides the word and a description of how to do the sign along with a picture of a child using it. See below attachments.
- Once students have conducted their research about baby sign language, we discuss what they’ve discovered. I like to do this to make sure they’ve found appropriate and legitimate information. Then, it’s time for them to apply this new found knowledge in a Collin’s Writing and make a decision as to whether they think baby sign language is a good idea or a bad idea and why.
- Baby Sign Language Dilemma (PDF)
- Baby Sign Language Foldable Project (PDF)
- Baby Sign Language Visual (PDF)
- baby-sign-language-chart-us (PDF)
- Type III Writing for Baby Sign Language (PPT)
- Using Infant Sign Language to Boost Development
- Teaching Your Baby Sign Language Can Benefit Both of You
- Baby Sign Language–Daytime TV Video Clip