This is a teaching sample from one of my advanced ASL classes. In the previous classes, my students have been learning the signs for different countries by watching Brenda Schertz’ video on youtube. The link is They are also building their knowledge of classifiers, and how to choose English words when listening to ASL concepts. I have brought them to the Museum of Fine Arts where we examine several exhibits incorporating ASL and different countries. We have already seen Ancient Egypt, the Buddha room, and Ancient Greece, and now we are in the contemporary wing of the museum looking at a piece of art by El Anatsui.
I have done my research on the artist, and the process he has gone through to create this piece. Before I begin, we review the signs for Africa, and I give the students 5 minutes to think of any questions or concepts they think may come up during my art description. I sign the artists bio and art process twice. The first time, I use my ASL at full speed, not allowing them to stop and ask questions. It’s a lesson in getting the meaning of the story, and getting as many details as they can understand and retain. I’m also aware that many of them have not been exposed to the subjects being presented by El Anatsui. The second time, I allow them to stop me with questions, clarifications, and I sign a little slower, with more emphasis on certain concepts. They pair up in teams of two to describe the art and the artist, and I provide gentle feedback in terms of the five parameters of ASL, grammar, and word choice.