Enrichment Activity 1: Compare and Contrast English-based and ASL Poems
Teaching Note: Translating an English text to American Sign Language word for word is a denotative task that does not preserve the connotation or concept of the text. Rather, when an English text is translated word for word in sign, the sign becomes a visual representation of an English word without conveying the full concept of a passage.
Visit the Apple App Store to find Texas Heroes app.
Bilingual-bicultural students have the capacity to provide language equivalents, although it may be done in different structures or word choices. In this activity, students will read a poem about Deaf Smith and Emily West which was written in English first and is based on phonemic rhyme. They will then compare it to the ASL poem in the Texas Heroes app, which is a transliteration of that same poem. The poem utilizes ASL rhythms, rather than sound, to create a cadence. While both poems are different in structure, length, rhyme, and word choices, the concept and artistry of both poems mirror each other.
It is important to note that English and ASL cannot always mirror each other precisely; each of these two languages has distinct linguistic rules. It is important to choose the language that best conveys the text’s meaning or the language that best achieves the instructional objective.
Step One: Explain the Venn diagram.
Distribute the Venn diagram below or create one on the board for a whole class activity. Explain/review how Venn diagrams are used to compare and contrast two or more topics.
Step Two: Read the English poem.
Students read the poem independently (temporary link), without ASL support*. After they finish reading, students film themselves signing the poem.
*If they need word for word sign representation, provide that.
Step Three: Watch the ASL poem.
Students return to the Texas Heroes app and choose “Watch.” They should view the poem in ASL only. For this activity, students should not receive English language support so they can focus on the similarities and differences between the ASL poem and the English poem.
Step Four: Complete the Venn diagram.
Students complete the Venn diagram individually, in groups, in pairs, or as a whole class activity.
Enrichment Activity 2: A Look Behind the Scenes
The process of developing an ASL poem and an English equivalent is explained in this video. Signer Donna Valverde and SOC Director Bobbie Beth Scoggins discuss how the process unfolded, why Spanish words were added, and the value of incorporating ASL rhythm.
Check our YouTube channel for the release of this video.