Writing Workshop With Deaf Students. Charlotte J. Enns University of Manitoba, CANADA CASA 2008 Albuquerque, NM. Purpose of Larger Study. Problem: What disables Deaf people is not that they cannot hear, but that they cannot read and write.
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Charlotte J. Enns
University of Manitoba, CANADA
Cummins, J. (1984). Bilingualism and special education: Issues in assessment and pedagogy.
San Diego, CA: College Hill Press.
Evans, C.J. & Seifert, K. (2000). Fostering ASL/ESL bilinguals. TESL Canada Journal, 5(4), 1-16.
Sources: The ASL Language Arts Curriculum, Edmonton Public Schools; Naylor, A. (2002). The Thomas Pattison School Literacy Plan;Star Schools Project, USA (www.starschools.org); Swedish Schools for the Deaf (www3.skolverket.se)
Description Language Bilingual Programs
Preparatory work (ideas, planning, brainstorming)
First draft (rough)
Feedback (response from peers/teacher)
Revision 1 (content)
Revision 2 (style, form, language)
Revision 3 (proofreading, spelling, punctuation, choice of words)
Modifications for Deaf Students
Introduce “Process Signing” to produce texts in sign language (add language to their thoughts)
Combine process signing and process writing to produce texts in two versions (written and signed)
First draft can be written, drawn or signed
Connect print to pictures or signs
Each version has a “published” form (print or video)General Outcome 4: Enhance clarity and artistry of communication.Activity: Process Writing
Approximately 1 hour/day for 10 - 12 days
Researcher worked with teachers to plan activities
Data collected through assessments, classroom observations, interviews
Creating stories (English and ASL) involved the following steps:
PublishingCurrent Study: Implementing Writing Workshop
Planning & 5)(Transcript of video)
(Teacher holds book, while student takes letter out)
Boy (blue): I want a turn.
Teacher: You will.
Boy (reading): Top secret. Special invitation to…I forget…Priscilla (fingerspelling word)
Teacher (looking at book): That’s the names, the two girls’ names.
Boy:..birthday party on Friday, June 24, at 2 pm in the Grand Ballroom, Village Hall, Chipping Cheddar. Cat clowns!
Teacher: So, what does that mean?
Boy: Her friends are going to the birthday party on Friday.
Teacher: The same day, right? Friday, the same day!
Teacher: Okay, for the plan you don’t need to write full sentences or the full story, just ideas. We’ll put them all down and then later you can expand all those ideas, right? Okay, your idea for “most important character” - do we agree that it’s Jo, the girl? (writes on board). Other characters, Calvin (points to boy), and Ron…(looking at another boy)
Boy (grey): Ronroy (spelling)
Teacher: (copying his spelling) R-O-N-R-O-Y (Boy get’s up to get something) Oh, his first name is Ron and his last name is Roy. Now I understand (writes on board).
Teacher (as boy shows her the book): He’s the author. So is that a man, girl, or boy?
Boy: Man. & 5)Teacher: Man, okay (writes on board). Good, now (points to board) - setting - what does that mean?Boy (orange): Where, the place, where..
Teacher: Where and the time the story happens. Now we know it must be winter, right? There is snow, lots of snow. So, maybe it could be here in Canada because we get lots of snow?
Boy (orange): Up north..
Teacher: In Winnipeg or up north?
Boy (orange): North (taps girl) Do you want it up north, like in the Northwest Territories?
Teacher: You mean Nunavut? Do you two know about that place? Can you create, tell a story..
Girl: Yeah, yeah
Teacher: Okay, you studied that so you know, fine. You can teach me. (to other boy) What do you think? They are suggesting maybe up north in Nunavut, Nunuvut - did I spell that right?
Girl & Boy (orange): Nunavut (looking at side of board and spelling)
Teacher (looking at board and pointing): Oh, you’re studying it right now! I understand, good idea. Good idea!
Drafting & 5)
Boy (blond): Knock, knock. My brother runs and opens the door. He sees the mail office with a letter (picks up letter and rolls his eyes) - that’s wrong!
Teacher: It’s okay, this is just practice!
Boy: The mailman gives him the letter, he takes it and looks at it - from AW - oh, stupid!
Teacher: From who?
Boy: TO AW. He runs and gives it to me. I take the letter - it’s for me! Yes! (opens letter) It says, Dear AW, you have won two tickets in the draw - two tickets for a Manitoba Moose game at the Winnipeg arena (points). I’m excited! (throws letter dramatically)
Teacher: Who’s the letter from?
Boy: Jimmy Roy!
Boy: …really want to use small…
Girl: Okay, but she told me I have to think…she can’t just be walking along and say “I wish I could fly” and start flying! Need to think… maybe she thinks back and she borrowed a book with a magic word - that’s it!
Boy: Well, well, she can take off… maybe she can run really fast and take off?
Girl: But how? How des she learn how to fly?
Boy: Yeah, well, maybe someone teaches her..
Girl: A book… borrows a book from the library…
Boy: Or, or, maybe for fun her parents teach her - ha! She makes a wish and her parents want to give her something… Umm, maybe she can wish on a star. You know, twinkle….a star
Girl: … at 3:30 - same as the other story? (shakes head) I think it’s better if she borrows a book from the library and learns the magic words.
Boy: … or maybe she goes to England and come back?
Boy: His jaw dropped. Do you want to trade? Okay. So they traded. He used the money to buy a new house. That’s it!
Teacher: When they are trading, who’s on each side? You’re looking forward and giving the mayor the pictures, so you are exchanging this way, right? (motioning forward) Not exchanging sideways, it should go forwards, the way you are looking. If it’s sideways, who’s over there? (Boy shrugs) That’s okay, good job. Now remember, keep your head up when you’re signing. Spell first, spell the title and then go on. Okay, you introduce Bay, then tell the story, then say Jebb is looking up, and getting his attention… you can carry on with the story and don’t need to keep saying Bay, Jebb, etc.
(Pulls curtain to reveal blue wall to start videotaping)
- knowledge base, independent thinking
- story structure, self-evaluation, editing and revising
- providing choices, building self-esteem, creating enjoyment
Teacher: Okay, you were not satisfied, You said you wanted to do it again Why weren’t you satisfied?
Boy (stripes): I made a mistake. I said the eagles moved to the house, then the sharks moved and then the eagles moved to the house - two times!
Teacher: No, not again - only once!
Boy: And something else, something else (thinking). No (towards face), no (away from face) - I did “no” towards me and it should be away from me - I’m telling them “no”.
Teacher: Good, you noticed that!
Ownership & 5)(Transcript of video)
(All students are watching the TV - laughing)
Teacher: Well? Good!
Girl (grey): That was silly - the moose bucked him and he fell! I laughed!
Teacher: Yeah, it’s a funny story - he used good facial expression! Funny - expressive! What did you like about his story?
Girl (glasses): That was funny when the moose bucked him and he went flying and he was rolling around and rolling around! Oh, that was funny!
If one assumes that Deaf students have an established first language and that others in the environment can understand this language (often huge assumptions!), then the process of modifying existing language arts curricula to accommodate the visual and bilingual needs of Deaf students is quite straightforward. You need:
For more information contact Charlotte Enns -
This research project was supported by a grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.