Monday, July 29, 2013

Support a good cause!

Part of my summer "homeschool" for my kids includes picking it a few DVDs on topics we're studying. However, it can be hard to find something with enough educational value to have it add to their learning. In our situation especially it is important for them to hear about the study topic in English from a native speaker other than me.
For years we have enjoyed the Signing Time DVDs and not too long ago when Rachel and the Treeschoolers came out we all got really excited! Treeschoolers comes with activities you can do beyond watching the DVD and covers a large amount of material in 30 minutes.
Two Little Hands, the company which makes Rachel and the Treeschoolers, has been looking to get the show picked up by a TV network but they've been repeatedly told that the show is too educational for TV. Does that make sense? It is entertaining, fun and educational. If you are going to let your kids watch TV why not watch something useful?
To try and bring the rest of the Treeschoolers episodes to market they have started a Kickstarter fundraising campaign. Basically this allows us, the consumers, to have a direct hand in the creating of a wonderful educational series. Lending your support through pledging is risk-free. If you make a pledge and they don't raise enough money to support the current project then your money is not collected. If they do raise enough money your pledge is accepted and you will receive a return gift of your choosing.... Such as a copy of the new DVDs.
Why not hop on over to Kickstarter and take a look?

Friday, July 19, 2013

Sign of the Week - The Letter "S" 今週の手話は「s」です。

Sign of the Week - The Letter "S"  今週の手話は「s」です。

The abc signs are for so much more than just fingerspelling names!  Letter hand shapes can often be found in signs. ABCのサインはスペル以外のときに使えます。"s"の手の形は色んなサインにあります。

Ok, so you may be wondering how and when to use the sign for the letter "s"... here are a few ideas!
shoes くつ 靴           silver ぎん 銀          Saturday どようび 土曜日

Books for practicing the sign "s"

Want to learn more?  Here are recommended products:
ABC Signs Flashcards
ABC Signs Board Book

Don't forget to check out the other items in the Kotoba & Sign Store as well!

ABC Signs について
There are many great benefits of using fingerspelling with kids but if they aren't explained parents may not know about them.
- learning to fingerspell is a big step towards being able to read/write English.
- initialised signs (those which use the first letter of the word the sign represents) provide an easy step into phonics.

example - kid doing a matching worksheet where matching the color to the written word - signing the color (which often includes the first letter of the word) can provide key phonetic clues.

- for kids who are a little bit farther along and starting to read fingerselling can be used to help learn/remember new words and learn the spellings of some of the trickier words.  Read - sign - write.

The ABC Song not only teaches the letters in the alphabet but is also provides words that start with the common phonetic sounds of each letter.

When I was teaching English one of the biggest challenges for the kids was making the transition from listening/speaking to reading/writing.  Many English texts assume that kids can read at about 1st grade but they don't go through the phonics and teaching kids how to learn to read.  This is a challenge for native speakers as well.
In the Signing Time series in addition to using some initialised signs and teaching the alphabet, the spelling of the key words always appears on the screen along with the sign.

Signing can help kids to learn sight words faster.

Why Sign with Babies?

New parents often wonder about the benefits of signing with babies.
Experienced parents sometimes question it.
Strangers may question you when they see you signing with your child.

Here are some links to look at to learn more about the benefits of signing with infants/toddlers/preschoolers:

Two Little Hands: Sign Language Research
Signing Time: Baby signing hits mainstream, book published by AAP touts benefits

Friday, July 12, 2013

Sign of the Week 今週の手話 Wind 風

This week the Sign of the Week from Signing Time is "wind"! 今週の手話は「」です。

 Children of all ages are interested in understanding the world around them so having signs such as "wind" "sun", "cloud" and "moon" can help them to tell you what they are seeing and thinking about!

 Here are some videos from Two Little Hands where you can learn other signs to go with "wind":
Baby Signing Time Vol. 3 A New Day 
Series 2 Vol. 5 Going Outside 

Books for practicing the sign for "wind":
What Do You See Outside? (Baby Signing Time!) By Emilie De Azevedo Brown
Going Out from Child's Play
Maisy's Wonderful Weather Book by Lucy Cousins

親子工作 Would you like to do a wind craft?  Here is a Hand-y Craft Windsock with downloadable instructions.  Looks like a fun summer project!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Bathing Baby Dolls

In the Takenotsuka class this week we learned the signs for taking a bath and getting ready for bed. We practiced the signs by bathing, dressing and tucking baby dolls into bed. We even read/signed them a bedtime story!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Sign Of The Week 今週の手話 Sun お日様

The Sign of the Week this week is sun.

Infants and toddlers are very interested in the world around them so having signs such as "sun", "cloud" and "moon" can help them to tell you what they are seeing and thinking about!

Here are some videos from Two Little Hands where you can learn other signs to go with "sun"!
Baby Signing Time Vol. 3 A New Day
Series 2 Vol. 5 Going Outside
Rachel and the TreeSchoolers: A Rainy Day

Books for practicing the sign for "sun":

What Do You See Outside? (Baby Signing Time!)  By Emilie De Azevedo Brown (Available from Heidi)

Itsy Bitsy Spider from Child's Play
Going Out from Child's Play

And, to wrap this up, here is a clip of my toddler using the sign "sun" while looking at pictures of the eclipse we watched earlier that day.  Without signing we probably wouldn't have known that she understood what was happening during the eclipse!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

July Events 7月のイベント

July Events 7月の予定

In July we have some special events coming up with Kotoba & Sign and Hana House!

July 10th - Potty Time Workshop - Takenotsuka
July 17th - Play Group  - Takenotsuka
July 26th - Potty Time Workshop - Hana House
July 26th - Play Group - Hana House
July 30th - Field Trip to Tokyo Sea Life Park

サインで遊ぼうPlay Group

Theme: Colors and Toys  色とおもちゃ

Play Group is a seasonal event, a chance to gather with other signing families.

Who is Play Group for? どなたが参加することができますか?


Baby Signing Time students and graduates will learn signs not covered in the regular course.
Those who are interested in signing with their child will get a chance to see how other children are able to communicate both with sign language and Japanese/English.
Families who have studied on their own or in a class elsewhere are welcome to come and enjoy spending time with other ASL-based signers.

Takenotsuka in Adachi-ku 足立区 竹の塚
7月17日 July 17th 11:00-11:50 AM

At Hana House in Suginami-ku 杉並区 ハナハウスで:
金曜日 7月26日 July 26th 11:40-12:30 

Potty Time Workshop  トイレトレーニング・ワークショップ

Join us for a 1-hour introduction to the Potty Time Program and learn how you can make potty training easier for you and more fun for your child. Potty Time works for children ages 0-5 and supports any potty training method you choose. 
Signing Timeを使ったトイレトレーニングセミナーです。まだ言葉が上手でないお子さんでも、サインを使いながら楽しく、ストレスなくオムツを卒業できるようになります。ぜひご参加ください。

Takenotsuka in Adachi-ku 足立区 竹の塚
7月10日 July 10th 11:00-11:50 AM

At Hana House in Suginami-ku 杉並区 ハナハウスで:
金曜日 7月26日 July 26th 10:30-11:20 

Field Trip to Tokyo Sea Life Park

Please join us at Tokyo Sea Life Park on July 30th for our parent/child Field Trip.

☆ Theme: Sea Life Signs and English for an aquarium visit
☆ Participants: Parents/Guardian and child are 0 - 5 years old
☆ Cost: Price of admission - please purchase your own ticket.

More details coming soon!