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American Sign Language 1B Course

American Sign Language 1b: Learn to Sign

The predominant sign language of Deaf communities in the United States, American Sign Language, is complex and robust. Discover more of this language and its grammatical structures through expanding your vocabulary with acquiring hundreds of new signs. Additionally, explore interesting topics like Deaf education and Deaf arts and culture, and learn about careers where you can use your ASL skills.

Review Course Outline

Units at a Glance

Unit 1: Who's Who?

Imagine trying to function and communicate in a hearing world all day, every day. This is the reality for many Deaf individuals in the workplace. While accommodations and adaptations have made things easier, working in the hearing world has its challenges. Together, we’ll learn signs for various professions and terms frequently used on the job. We’ll also dive further into signing numbers—did you know that some numbers in ASL rock? Understanding this concept will make your numbers crystal clear in Sign Language. Plus, we’ll get a glimpse into Black Deaf history, which helped form a unique subculture and dialect of ASL.

What will you learn in this unit?

  • Clearly sign “rocking” numbers like 78
  • Explain the function of the “person ending”
  • Converse in ASL about work and jobs
  • Relate Black Deaf history to wider cultural events and trends
  • Identify centers of Deaf culture in the United States

Unit 2: Well, It's About Time!

Do you ever wonder how Deaf students learn? How might it be different from how a hearing student is educated? Together, we’ll take some time to learn about the options for Deaf education today. Of course, when school is over, it’s time to celebrate! Knowing how to sign about time and days will help to make sure you don’t miss out on the fun. We’ll also learn how to indicate the past, present, and future in ASL—it is so efficient that you may wonder why we don’t have something this simple in English!

What will you learn in this unit?

  • Name the three laws that have dramatically changed Deaf education
  • Count to 1,000 in ASL
  • Schedule your holiday celebrations in ASL
  • Recognize the importance of Deaf social events for Deaf people
  • Practice respectful etiquette when you attend a Deaf event

Unit 3: Taking the Stage By Storm!

What season is it? It’s theater season! Did you know there has been a thriving and creative Deaf theater scene since the era of the Deaf clubs (and even before)? There are Deaf dancers and even Deaf singers (yes!) who have appeared on network television. And beyond the performing arts, there is a whole movement in Deaf visual arts that expresses political and personal perspectives of Deaf artists. So, what are we waiting for? Let’s jump in and cover the creative arts as well as signs about seasons and weather.

What will you learn in this unit?

  • Trace the evolution of Deaf performances from Deaf clubs to network television
  • Sign ordinal numbers
  • Describe the weather—whether sunny, windy, or snowing!
  • Distinguish your hat from your shoes in ASL
  • Name the two types of De’VIA art

Unit 4: Expanding Your Vocabulary

Cut out the background noise! Technology can help Deaf and Hard of Hearing people more efficiently function in the wider world—let’s explore a few of the types. Then we will expand your vocabulary with sports, animals, and foods. With all this ASL vocabulary, maybe you’ll want to choose a career where you can use your ASL skills—whether you want to be a sign language interpreter or just use your skills to help communication in another profession, there are so many options to put your ASL into action!

What will you learn in this unit?

  • Understand how technology can assist the Deaf to communicate
  • Communicate important numbers clearly in ASL
  • Sign the most popular sports and animals
  • Request food and drink in ASL
  • Chart a path to becoming a professional sign language interpreter

Required Materials

  • Computer with:
    • Internet access
    • Word processing program
    • Slideshow creation program
  • Cell phone, tablet, or computer camera with sound and video recording abilities
  • A person, large stuffed animal, or chair
  • 2 people (family, friend, classmate) to use in videos and lead a discussion with
  • A photo (or even a drawing) of your family
  • A hat—silly, crazy, or ordinary is fine
  • Blank Paper
  • Drawing tools (pencils, markers, etc.)
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