Tamara Seymour, teacher of the Deaf/HH at Oswego County BOCES, has volunteered her time to lead a six-week sign language class at Lura Sharp Elementary.
The class is made up of mostly fourth graders, and is in its second year.
The afterschool class teaches students American Sign Language, a visual, conceptual and complete language.
Over the course of six weeks, students learn how to sign simple sentences, finger spell and communicate with peers without using their voices.
The class introduces students to devices that deaf of hard of hearing wear and how they operate. Deaf/HH students in the afterschool program demonstrated to classmates how their transmitters work on different frequencies.
A cochlear implant for example transforms sound into electrical impulses which stimulate the hearing nerve, and can be perceived by the brain as sound.
Most classes begin with a game. In a recent class, students arranged themselves alphabetically based on the hand signal on their card. Students were also challenged to sign three word sentences with a partner and finger spell what comes next in the alphabet.
Seymour has taught the group of 17 students colors, the signs for yes and no, and words used in the Pledge of Allegiance. The pledge was chosen because it is a verse used in the classroom every day.
At the end of six weeks, students will sign the pledge at morning program.
“Our ultimate goal is that students will begin to put individual words into full sentences and be able to carry on a conversation with the Deaf/HH students in their school and beyond,” said Seymour.
Seymour instructs the class with the help of teacher assistant Mrs. Wood.