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Developing an ASL Curriculum. Experience and Facts By Scott Vollmar CASA Conference April 5 th , 2008. Who Am I?. Born deaf- parents & siblings Deaf 3 different deaf schools Graduated from Gallaudet University NMSD: ASL Specialist. Purpose of this presentation. Informational

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developing an asl curriculum

Developing an ASL Curriculum

Experience and Facts

By Scott Vollmar

CASA Conference

April 5th, 2008

who am i
Who Am I?
  • Born deaf- parents & siblings Deaf
  • 3 different deaf schools
  • Graduated from Gallaudet University
  • NMSD: ASL Specialist
purpose of this presentation
Purpose of this presentation
  • Informational
  • Reporting the progress
  • Informal
  • For whom?
  • What about the product?

“Becoming literate is the key to being a productive citizen.”

  • Dr. Marlon Kuntze

Critical Question:

What are we doing to make our students productive citizens?

purpose of asl program curriculum
Purpose of ASL program/curriculum
  • Support language and academic fluency in bilingualism (BICS and CALP by Cummins)
  • Support new signers
  • Metalinguistic awareness/appreciation
  • Creative use of ASL
  • Applications to real-life problems and situations
  • Full maintenance model
  • What about bilingual approach?
outcomes of an asl curriculum program
Outcomes of an ASL curriculum/program
  • Language and cognitive development
  • Literacy development
  • Educational achievement
  • Becoming independent is more vital to deaf than hearing people
current definitions
Current Definitions
  • Literacy-
    • read and write
  • Oracy –
    • speaking and listening
  • Signacy - SIGNACY
    • signing and attending
asl specialists teachers
ASL Specialists/Teachers?
  • The reasons deaf schools hire them
    • Bi-Bi program and language planning
    • Appease the deaf community and laws
    • PR
  • What are the necessary qualifications?
    • ASL user
    • Deaf Education
    • ASL studies
    • Deaf Studies
    • ESL instruction
who should be the leaders of asl curriculum development
Who should be the leaders of ASL Curriculum development?
  • ASL-related teachers/specialists
  • Language planners
  • Bilingual specialists/teachers
  • Administrators
  • Consultants
  • Teachers
  • Parents???
needs analysis
Needs Analysis

What do we need?

  • Proof of ASL development among students
  • A guide of what teachers need to adhere in their instruction
needs analysis part 2
Needs Analysis (part 2)

Why do we go ahead with developing our own curriculum?

No standardized curriculum

- Some schools have developed their own- but they do not match our students’ needs 100%

  • ASL is proven to be a bona fide full language
  • # of students using ASL at NMSD
  • # of ASL models at NMSD
  • Teachers need guidance and training for ASL instruction in subject areas and as the language itself.
components of asl curriculum
Components of ASL Curriculum
  • School’s vision, policy, etc.
  • Maintenance Approach
  • Immersion Approach
  • ASL K-12 standards in all subject areas (as a tool only)
  • Short cycle assessments
nmsd vision statement
NMSD vision statement

We Believe...

“Proficiency in American Sign Language and English forms a foundation for development of fluent communication, literacy and academic achievement.”

Critical Question:How many deaf schools have this statement/belief in their mission/vision statements?



Basic Interpersonal Communication Skills

  • Experts such as Jim Cummins differentiate between social and academic language acquisition. Basic Interpersonal Communication Skills (BICS) are language skills needed in social situations. It is the day-to-day language needed to interact socially with other people. English language learners (ELLs) employ BIC skills when they are on the playground, in the lunch room, on the school bus, at parties, playing sports and talking on the telephone. Social interactions are usually context embedded. They occur in a meaningful social context. They are not very demanding cognitively. The language required is not specialized. These language skills usually develop within six months to two years after arrival in the U.S.
  • Problems arise when teachers and administrators think that a child is proficient in a language when they demonstrate good social English.

3-5 years to acquire



Basic Interpersonal Communication Skills

  • Seeking what?
    • Concrete info!
      • Greetings / leave
      • Asking for help
      • Providing information
      • Comparing at simple level
      • Solving simple problems


Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency

  • CALP refers to formal academic learning. This includes listening, speaking, reading, and writing about subject area content material. This level of language learning is essential for students to succeed in school. Students need time and support to become proficient in academic areas. This usually takes from five to seven years. Recent research (Thomas & Collier, 1995) has shown that if a child has no prior schooling or has no support in native language development, it may take seven to ten years for ELLs to catch up to their peers.
  • Academic language acquisition isn't just the understanding of content area vocabulary. It includes skills such as comparing, classifying, synthesizing, evaluating, and inferring. Academic language tasks are context reduced. Information is read from a textbook or presented by the teacher. As a student gets older the context of academic tasks becomes more and more reduced.
  • The language also becomes more cognitively demanding. New ideas, concepts and language are presented to the students at the same time.
  • Jim Cummins also advances the theory that there is a common underlying proficiency (CUP) between two languages. Skills, ideas and concepts students learn in their first language will be transferred to the second language.

5-7 years to acquire



Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency

  • Seeking what?
    • Abstract info!
      • Request for information
      • Ordering & classifying
      • Inferring & predicting
      • Judgment, persuading, analyzing, synthesizing, evaluating, etc.
maintenance model
Maintenance Model
  • Continued development of ASL skills
  • Use the standards to guide the maintenance classes
  • Aimed to ???
  • Syllabus is important and helpful


immersion approach
Immersion Approach
  • BICS first!
  • Swim or Sink : possible at NMSD ???
  • Field trips- hands-on
  • Videotape students first day and “last” day
asl k 12 standards
ASL K-12 Standards
  • Developed by Ms. Hile and CAEBER, etc.
  • Samples provided (soon!)
  • ASL standards in all areas
    • Science, Social Studies, Mathematics, English Language Arts, Instructional and Social
standards why
  • Bilingual approach (ASL/English)
    • Content areas
      • ASL across curriculum
      • Curriculum mapping
  • ASL Approach
    • Domains
      • Watching/Attending
      • Signing
      • Samples- ABC
    • ASL maintenance language
      • Development of skills & knowledge
samples of asl k 12 standards
Samples of ASL K-12 Standards
  • K-2 English Language Arts
  • 3-5 Mathematics
  • 6-8 Science
  • 9-12 Social Studies
  • 3-5 Social and Instruction
  • 6-8 ASL Language Arts
short cycle assessments
Short-Cycle Assessments

Vlogs/videotaped works

  • Retelling
  • Summarizing
  • Synthesizing
  • Categorizing
  • Etc.

USE WHAT?: rubrics – seems one of best way to do it.

  • “Crafting a plan of action for making ASL more prominent in schools”. Dr. Marlon Kuntze
  • “K-12 ASL Proficiency Standards”. Ms. Amy Hile, Gallaudet University Education professor
  • ASL Round Table Conference 2007