Saturday, September 29, 2012

Books that Enhance

One of the great things about using ASL (American Sign Language) as the basis for signing with children is the wealth of "extra" books that you can use.  Since it is a real, full language there are new books constantly being made and many great ones already published.

The Baby Signing Time, Signing Time and Potty Time Board Books are currently hard to get your hands on in Japan.  However, I can take orders for them.  The other books can be purchased via

The main books that we use in the baby class are, of course, the Baby Signing Time Board Books!

Potty Time Board Book: Hopkins Uses the Potty

Signing Time Board Books - These coordinate with the first 6 volumes of the Signing Time Series 1 DVDs & Flashcards

Below are some of the other books that we have used in class.  These are not from Signing Time but are based on ASL, the same as Signing Time.

Words by The Handful - a box set of small board books great for babies & toddlers  (see blog post)

Sign and Sing Along Series - Illustrated by Annie Kubler -  Popular English Children's songs illustrated with ASL signs.  Please note that there is also a BSL version (British Sign Langauge).
Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear
Incey Wincey Spider 
Baa, Baa, Black Sheep

Sign About Series -Illustrated by Anthony Lewis -  Like little board book picture dictionaries.  Great for expanding vocabulary beyond what we cover in class.  Please note that there is also a BSL version (British Sign Langauge).
Getting Ready
Going Out
Play Time
Meal Time

Friday, September 28, 2012

From Class Today...

The fall session of classes at Hana House are in full swing!  Of course this also means there are many good questions coming up and I don't always have the time/resources on hand to take care of them in class.

One of the questions today was about where to look for words which are not covered in the Baby Signing Time series but are still be helpful to know.  Since we are using American Sign Language (ASL) there are many resources available to us!

One favorite link:  Signing Savvy
While this is a membership site (you can pay for full access) it also has a number of features that you can use for free.  One of the best is an ASL video dictionary.  You can search for a word or browse through their list.  I believe there is a limit of 5 signs a day for the "free" search.
Today some of the "extra" words that people asked about included:
Coffee - movement like a handheld coffee grinder
Hospital / Clinic - fingerspell "h" and make the sign of a cross - like a red cross patch on your arm
Doctor - fingers move like taking a pulse - another variation is fingerspell "d" taking the pulse
Medicine - like you are smashing a pill in your hand

★ Please note that like any spoken language there is more than one way to "say" the same word.  Some of the signs may not be the exact same one that is used in Signing Time.  That does not mean that one is "right" and the other "wrong" - they are simply "different"!

The questions about signs for visiting the doctor lead to an interesting discussion of how in English we use "medicine" as a general term for a variety of medicines (pills, drops, lotions etc.) but in Japanese くすり is usually taken to mean the kind you swallow - which is incidentally seemingly more often in powder form in Japan than in the US.

Yes, we gather in class to learn to communicate with our children through signing but we also learn a lot of other things along the way!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Signing up a Storm!

Miss Mega (who just turned 2) has been signing up a storm - and signing about storms - every day.  Her toddler energy is amazing!  Every day she adds both new words and new signs.  Her spoken languages (mainly Japanese and English) often leave us wondering what words she is trying to pronounce so we rely heavily on the signs she uses to help us untangle this web.
It is very common for bilingual / multilingual toddlers to mix spoken languages - even in the same sentence.  Mega also mixes ASL signs with her two main spoken languages.  As toddlers grown into preschoolers they will naturally separate and isolate both spoken and signed languages.  This adorable (and sometimes frustrating!) time of mixing languages is super cute so we are trying to catch some of the conversations on video.

A conversation on a rainy morning...

A typical morning conversation...

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Classes at Hana House Fall 2012 ハナハウスで秋のクラス

The Basic Class trial lessons are nearly full! ベーシック・クラスはもうすぐ定員になりそうです!

アドバンス・クラスはまだ空きがあります (金曜日 14:10-14:45)。アドバンス・クラスは初級レベル(ベーシック・クラス)を終えた方あるいはそれに相当するレベルを他の教室などで終えている方対象となります。
There is still space in the Advanced class (Fri. 14:05 - 14:45) for students who have either completed the Basic Class or who have studied someplace else or on there own.  Please contact Hana House for information on joining the Advanced Class!

We are having trial lessons this week and next for the new fall session of Baby Signing Time ☆ Sign and Play ☆ class.今週と来週に次の新しいベビー・サイニング・タイムのクラスの体験レッスンがあります。
体験クラス:9/7(金)、9/14(金)13:00 - 13:50 (約80分)
内容:サイン育児(ベビーサイニング)の素晴らしい世界 & Lesson 1
Trial lesson: Friday, September 9th 13:00 - 13:50 and Friday September 14th 13:00 - 13:50
The trial lesson includes an introduction to using sign language to improve communication with infants and toddlers. It also includes the first lesson of the Baby Signing Time course.
会場:レンガ教室 、 定員:10組(満席になり次第受付終了)
Location: Hana House Bricks Classroom
Class Size: Max. of 10 parent/child pairs
Trial Lesson Fee: 1,500 yen (payable in cash of Suginami-ku Kosodate Oenken)

For more information or to sign up please contact Hana House either by e-mail or phone 03-6750-8677 or 080-4322-9490(Weekdays 10:00-17:00) (Both English and Japanese are OK)

ハナハウスでのベビー・サイニング・タイム“Sign and Play”クラスは、二つのレベルがあり、それぞれ8回のレッスンから成っています。ベーシック・クラスは、体験レッスン+7回のレッスン。アドバンス・クラスは、初級レベル(ベーシック・クラス)を終えた方あるいはそれに相当するレベルを他の教室などで終えている方対象となり、8回のレッスンとなります。
The Baby Signing Time ☆ Sign and Play ☆ class at Hana House consists of two levels with 8 lessons each.  The Basic Class includes the Trial Lesson + 7 weekly lessons.  The Advanced Class is for students who have previously completed the beginner level, or the equivalent, and consists of 8 weekly lessons.

Details including class dates and cost are here.