Signs and Symbols Unit of Inquiry: Week 3

The past week we have been focusing on how different people communicate. We discussed the reasons that people communicate:

To talk
To listen
To share
To tell information
To give messages

Just a few of the suggestions from my class. I then asked them, how do people who can't talk or hear communicate...(long pause). Then a few voices shared:

They can write
They can draw

This sparked some further discussion:

They can use tools, like an iPad.
They can show what they want with pictures.

Finally our discussion led us to asking questions about why some people can't hear or talk. I explained the meanings of the terms "deaf" and "mute", which my students had never heard of before. They asked how this can happen to someone, to which I shared that a person could be born that way, they could have had an accident, or they could have become sick which might have caused that. They were very curious as to how these people might communicate.

We have our own iPads in class as I have mentioned in previous posts. We are fortunate enough to be able to request apps for certain Units of Inquiry through our partner company, and they provide them to us on our iPads. I did some research and found a few simple and easy to use Sign Language apps (Marlee Signs and ASL Kids). My students then got the chance to explore these 2 apps, and begin to learn some basic signs. In Marlee Signs, there is an option to type in a word or name and she will show you in short videos the letters to make up the word or name. My students had a great time trying to sign along with the videos. Then we took it a step further and mastered the letters in order for our first names. This sparked great interest, and we then used our iPads with a partner to take photos of our hands signing our names, one photo for each letter. After all the photos were taken, I gave an introductory lesson to Photoshop (which we have as an app), and showed the students how to crop photos, and apply a filter to change the colors. I did not attempt to explain about brightening, sharpening, shadows, highlights, etc... as this was their first time using Photoshop. However they had fun exploring and trying the different filters, and we got some great results which are now on display in the hallway outside our classroom.


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