Thursday, January 31, 2013

A Few Foods

One of my classes this week was a food lesson and of course someone had to ask about food signs that I couldn't remember at that moment!  I love that my students as questions because it pushes me to keep studying to be a better teacher :-)

Food vocabulary questions from this week:
squash かぼちゃ - usually finger spelled
pumpkin パンプキン  (this is also the same sign as melon)
pancake / hotcakes パンケーキ / ホットケーキ

Friday, January 25, 2013

Hot dogs...

Today my daughter (2.5 years old) and I had another fun signing moment...

We were in the grocery store picking up some things for lunch and she was chatting away about various things she noticed as we walked around.  Half of her chatting is in words I can't understand because of her toddler pronunciation.  If I have a clue as to what she is trying to say I can often guess what she means... but in a grocery store where packages with various designs are at eye level for her and different ones are at eye level for me I quickly loose track of her line of thought.
Today she kept saying "osdfhdsohfsoahf mama" and looking at me expectantly. I asked her "Please sign?" and she signed "hot" "dog".  While this is not a "real" way to sign the food (which is signed like this) she was able to clearly communicate what she was hungry for.
This kind of situation comes up a lot with English words that have more than one meaning.  I think of it like phonetic spelling vs. the regular spelling.  It shows that she has understanding but is not yet proficient in ASL. She is pretty good at getting her point across even though it sometimes takes a bit of creativity!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Signing at the Zoo

We went to the Zoo this week which is an awesome time to practice all of the pet, farm and zoo signs!
Before going we watched Leah's Farm and Zoo Train and I prepared the Pet, Farm and Zoo flashcards from the Classroom Edition.

Both of my kids started using animal signs (beyond the ones taught in Baby Signing Time) at about 18 months old.  Every zoo and aquarium visit since that point has been very interesting.  They use all of the signs they know to talk about what they see and when they see an animal that they don't know the sign for they use signs to share what they think the animal looks like.  The best example I have of this is the first time we took my son to Sea World at 18 months old.  He saw an orca and signed "fish, boat" with a questioning expression on his face. He knew neither was the right sign but he didn't know the sign for "whale".  He also tried to understand what seals are "fish, dog?"  as they swim like a fish and bark like a dog!

Our zoo map holder was my 2 yr. old daughter.  While her map reading skills are not great her animal picture reading skills are stellar!  She did a great job of telling us which animals she wanted to visit.

When we reached the polar bear it was feeding time.  The way this one kept putting his paws together as he "begged" for food it really looked like he was signing "more"!

 One of our favorite things to see at the zoo are the turtles - both the sculpture and the real thing.  Here both kids are trying to sign "turtle" while balancing on the shell.

Here are links to video clips for a couple of helpful videos to watch before you next zoo visit:
Leah's Farm
Zoo Train

You can download the videos to watch right away with the (free) Kotoba & Sign Digital player!
The digital player is a real bargain because there is no shipping cost, the music files are included (in MP3 format) and it works with the MOD Mobile app so you can watch Signing Time on your iOS devices!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

News Report on Signing with Babies

I came across this on youtube tonight - it is an interview with Rachel and a great introduction to what it means to sign with babies/toddlers!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Fight the Flu with Signing Time!

Ok, so Signing Time doesn't give out flu shots but it does have a very important tool for parents that can help to prevent catching to flu.

Have you figured it out?

It is the song "I Wash My Hands".

A common suggestion for avoiding the flu is to wash your hands with soap and water for about 30 seconds.  While that sounds simple enough, do you know how long 30 seconds really is?  
Little kids in particular have not yet developed a reliable sense of time.  One handy trick is to have kids sing a song while washing their hands. 
When you sing the first verse and chorus at normal speed it takes about 30 seconds. Another great point is that the lyrics of the song include suggestions of appropriate times to wash hands - a great reminder for kids and parents alike!
 Let Alex, Leah and Hopkins help you and your family to remember how long to wash hands!

The song "I Wash My Hands" is included in both Baby Signing Time Volume 2 - Here I Go and Potty Time.  
The song can be downloaded through the Digital Player , from, US iTunes or listen to it on the Baby Signing Time - Here I Go and Potty Time CDs.

Here are the Lyrics for 

I Wash My Hands

I wash my hands before I eat
I wash my hands to get them clean 
And after touching sticky things I wash my hands

I wash my hands, wash every day 
‘Cause washing keeps the germs away 
And after finger painting play
I wash my hands

Wash, wash
Scrub, Scrub
I use soap and water Wash, Wash
Scrub, Scrub
Do you use soap and water?

Wash, Wash
Scrub, Scrub
I use soap and water Wash, Wash
Scrub, Scrub
Do you use soap and water?

I wash my hands sometimes for fun 
I wash my hands when I’m all done 
And after all my friends have gone 
I wash my hands, I wash my hands, I wash my hands, I wash my hands 
Signing Time ©2005 All rights reserved. Songs by Rachel de Azevedo Coleman and Lex de Azevedo. © 2005 Two Little Hands Productions, LLC P.O. Box 581037 Salt Lake City, UT 84158 • tel: 801.533.0444 • fax: 801.880.5151 •

Thursday, January 10, 2013

ベビー・サイニングタイムのExtra Signs for Baby Signing Time

In the Japan release of the Baby Signing Time DVD "Eat & Drink" there are some extra signs listed in the included booklet.  One of the great things about using a real sign language instead of made-up signs is that you can turn to a dictionary to find more signs for words you don't already know.  There is no need to make up your own original signs!  Plus, if you made up your own "signs" (gestures) it would be like making up meaningless words since no one else will know the meaning of your "sign"... and you risk making up a sign which is actually an insulting or bad word in sign language.


アメリカ手話 (ASL)  from

Rice: finger spell "r" and move you hand like you are picking up rice from a bowl.

Soup - Soup is in the Signing Time Series 1 Vol. 12 "Time To Eat" DVD
With two fingers as the spoon, scoop up the soup from a bowl.

Tea - The sign I use...
One hand makes a cup shape, the other pretends you are holding a tea bag - move your hands like you are swishing a tea bag in your cup

美味しい (yummy)
Pat your cheek to show how yummy the food is!

move your hands like you are making a ball of rice



紅茶 <-- close to the ASL sign)
I've seen 抹茶 signed (by deaf friends) as lifting a green tea tea cup - the same as on the pamphlet.

Check out the Kotoba & Sign Amazon Store for suggestions of books and toys to keep the learning going!

One more link... the Deaf Japan website.  It has some interesting things on it!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Year of the Snake 巳年/へび年

If you live in Japan you probably have noticed that this is the year of the snake.  The snake decorates many of the New Year's postcards and decorations.

Do you know how to sign "snake"?  It is a sign I've been hesitant to use because I don't like thinking about snakes. My kids though... they like snakes!
以下が “ヘビ”の米国手話のリンクです。
Here is a link to the ASL sign for "snake":

While we are at it, here is a short video clip with some useful New Year signs:

Winter 2013 Classes

Happy New Year!

With the start of this new year we also have the start of the next session of Baby Signing Time classes


2013 classes are offered in two locations! 

 On Tuesday mornings at Hana House Bricks Classroom in Suginami-ku 
火曜日は杉並区のハナハウスBricks Classroomで

Basic Class ベーシッククラス:  Tues. 火曜日10:30-11:20 
1 trial lesson + 7 lessons      1体験 + 7回

Advanced Class アドバンスクラス: Tues. 火曜日 11:40-12:30 (8 lessons 8回)

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)


 On Wednesday mornings at Takenotsuka Lutheran Church 

Basic Class ベーシッククラス:  Wed. 水曜日10:00-10:50 
1 trial lesson + 7 lessons      1体験 + 7回

Advanced Class アドバンスクラス: Wed. 水曜日 11:00-11:50 (8 lessons 8回)

メールはheidi @ signingtimeacademy.comまで。
For more information or to sign up please contact Heidi either by e-mail heidi @ or 
call the church (03)3899-2529 (Both English and Japanese are OK)