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If you've ever read a cumulative story to a child or group of students you know that it's not uncommon that kids will chant along with you as you read the story. However, with a classroom full of students, you can't always hear who is/is not participating. By incorporating sign language, you give yourself a visual indicator of who is listening (and/or who is comprehending in the language you are using). This can be especially helpful in bilingual or multilingual classrooms, but it is definitely helpful in monolingual classrooms as well.
|ABDO Publishing Group|
This one tool helps me "assess" an unfamiliar group of students in a very short time. I can quickly identify my good listeners and my "high flyers," (and I can also get a sense of who appears engaged, but may not yet have the skills of pattern identification/ prediction and/or comprehension in the dominant classroom language).
I've also noticed that this tool helps students with self regulation. When *most* students are signing, it's not uncommon that the non-signing students will look at other students and then self-adjust. Whether lack of participation is due to concentration/attention/ behavior-related issues or comprehension/literacy skill issues, the visual cue of other nearby learners signing key words helps the non-participating students get on track.
These benefits should be enough reason to start signing with the kids you work with, but alas, there are many more benefits I'll share in future posts. In the meantime, I'd love to hear your success stories signing with the children you parent or work with!