Friday, June 5, 2020

Teaching About ASL and Braille

I think it's important in the classroom to expose children to ASL and Braille when you're teaching about the Five Senses or the Human Body.

Here are some notes from today's session of Science Club, and a list of my favorite ASL and Braille books from the shelves in my classroom (unfortunately, I can't share these very easily with my students remotely).

Friday, June 5

Prior to Meeting

  • American Sign Language Coloring Page
  • ASL Fingerspelling Practice from Sign Language for Kids Activity Book: 50 Fun Games and Activities to Start Signing by Tara Adams

    She gives much longer lists; I'm sharing a few words from each one.
    (Remember to focus on clarity rather than speed!)

    Level 1, page 62:

      fun
      zoo
      yes
      am
      pool
      hop
      make
      box

    Level 2, page 71:

      home
      dress
      right
      card
      sore
      prize
      save
      print

    Level 3, page 80:

      sticky
      juice
      country
      kitten
      printer
      pizza
      pencil
      summer

    Level 4, page 89:

      pillow
      vacation
      mailbox
      quarter
      jellyfish
      applesauce
      honeycomb
      popcorn

    Level 5, page 98:

      octopus
      iguana
      milkshake
      washing machine
      flashlight
      umbrella
      gummy bear
  • ASL Word Searches, pages 69 and 96
    (these are really interesting to do with the hand shapes)

  • Braille Alphabet information
  • Braille Games from American Printing House (Braillebug.org):
    See Your Name in Braille, Trivia Mania, Riddles and Rhymes


During the Meeting


Favorite Books - American Sign Language


Favorite Books - Braille


I also have Braille editions of The Dot by Peter Reynolds and Guess How Much I Love You? by Sam McBratney, as well as a fun Rubik's Tactile Cube.


Resources for Tactile Diagrams

Art Beyond Sight: A Resource Guide to Art, Creativity, and Visual Impairment

I absolutely love the section on Tactile Diagrams in Art Beyond Sight and it does have a few pages printed on swell paper. We didn't get into tactile diagrams today but I have enjoyed teaching about them in the past. Here's a video that shows how they are made:


You can find a lesson plan from Art Beyond Sight that includes a Tactile Diagram for Dali's The Persistence of Memory (PDF) and the accompanying narrative for guidance of the hands.

I don't have swell paper or a heat diffusing machine... but I did once have a very old photocopier machine in my classroom that actually gave us a textured paper when we printed this out! It was wonderful for the kids to experience. If I had known that all photocopiers don't give the same result I would have printed a hundred so that I always had them for future classes.

I find the topic of translating visual art to tactile and auditory interpretations fascinating! Here are two more videos you may enjoy:


Georgia O'Keeffee "Abstraction" show at the Whitney Museum
tactile diagrams, verbal descriptions, touch and movement opportunities



Nude Descending a Staircase by Marcel Duchamp
verbal description, auditory representation


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