American Sign Language

ASL 101 Winter 2011

INSTRUCTOR:  Sinay Stenlund
CONTACT: Phone: 509.499.4033
Personal e-mail:
Turn in work at:
OFFICE: 1-209 B
I am usually in my office at 9:30 a.m.

Learning American Sign Language : Beginning & Intermediate Levels I & II
by Tom Humphries, Carol Padden

Internet access (campus computer labs are available)

Course description and Goals:

ASL 101 will cover Chapters 1-10 and give you a basic introduction to American Sign Language and Deaf Culture. You will learn to communicate and carry on a basic conversation with Deaf people. This course includes basic ASL vocabulary, grammatical structures, and conversational behaviors. Special emphasis will be placed on the cultural values and beliefs shared by the Deaf Community.

Course outcomes/objectives:
Students will be able to converse using basic ASL vocabulary, including proper syntax, facial grammar.
Students will be able to describe and discuss aspects of Deaf Culture and language.
Students will be able to describe and discuss ways in which hearing people interact with the Deaf Community.

These outcomes will be accomplished through a variety of activities, listed below. These activities focus on language acquisition, cultural awareness and on the development of understanding of the history of oppression of the Deaf

There will scheduled “SILENT” days as a part of the class.  You are required to participate.  There will be NO talking on these days unless you are assigned to voice.

This is a hands on class and attendance is very important to your grade.  Daily participation is required.  It is your responsibility to catch up on any material that was covered if you miss class.  It is a good idea to find a study partner and/or study group that could help you should you need to miss class.

When there are Deaf guests in the class, you must make an effort to sign, mime or use body language to communicate.  I will assist you if your message is misunderstood but it is very rude in Deaf culture for you to make no effort on your own.  Remember, the goal here is to communicate.

PLEASE DO NOT WORK AHEAD IN YOUR BOOK.  It is best to see the hand shape and motion of each sign demonstrated before you practice it on your own.  Sign is learned through use.

It is my intention that this class be a pleasurable as well as a learning experience.  You are learning a language and the ability to become proficient at a language varies between individuals.  You cannot expect to become fluent in one quarter; however your dedication to the task at hand will pay off.  Please feel free to contact me if you have any concerns or questions.

Grading and assignments will be as follows:

You are required to attend and participate during every class. Missing a class or engaging in off task behavior during class will result in a loss of 5 pts from your accumulated course work. Because I know people do get sick, I will allow three “free” missed days per quarter, any days after those three will be counted against you. Engaging in off task behavior during class time will automatically result in lost points.
Twenty percent (20%) of your grade will be based upon the completion of a webquest that I designed for your learning pleasure. It is worth 100 pts.  Further information is attached and we will discuss it in detail during class meetings. The webquest is due no later than March 11, if not presenting them to the class; those with presentations will be scheduled to be given March 14-17.
Twenty percent (20%) of your grade will come from short article reviews that you write. You will be able to further research topics of your own choosing by submitting five (5) short article reviews. Each will be worth 20 pts. The reviews should be 1½ to 2 pages, double spaced, 12 pt font with standard margins and should include a short summary of the article and your reaction to it. Spell-check your papers! The articles can be from the newspaper, periodicals, online articles or informational websites. You must, of course, include source citing. You may use the format of your choice. The article topics will relate to Deafness or ASL.  Make sure you ask if in doubt as to the relevancy of your topic. Five points will be deducted for: not citing the source, having less than 1½ pages in length, not summarizing the article or not including your reaction to the article. You will also include my name and your class time on the heading of the paper. The due dates are: Jan 14, Jan 28, Feb 11, Feb 25 and March 11.
We will take weekly quizzes during our weekly class meeting. They are worth twenty percent (20%) of your grade. The quizzes will be worth a total of 100 points, at 10 points each. They are graded upon quantity, not correctness. They are an effective learning tool by which you can evaluate your progress. If you miss a quiz, you cannot make it up.
Two prearranged activities from the list below will be worth forty percent (40%) of your grade, or 200 points and will be due no later than March 11, but those doing a performance will schedule for March 14-17.

Webquest: 100 pts
Article Reviews 100 pts
Quizzes (10) 100 pts
Prearranged activities 200pts

A total of 500 points, with a standard 10% break down will determine your grade. 
Grades will be available on ANGEL, however, since most assignments are not due until the last two weeks, it won’t tell you much. You should, however, periodically check to make sure that I didn’t make any errors in bookkeeping.

Prearranged Activities (do two)

Attend a deaf social or function (open to hearing people) and write a short paper telling of your experience.  Be sure to include what, where, and when and what you may have learned.
Toward the end of the quarter, sign up to perform a short poem, story or song in ASL in front of the class or on video tape, that will be turned in to me.
Attend two interpreted events and write a short paper, include what signs you recognized or signs you learned.
Interview a Deaf person and give a short report to the class.
Attend eight Café Chats and have a card signed and dated by Sinay
Watch three of the movies on reserve (listed on my website) and write a short reaction paper explaining how each reflects or doesn’t reflect Deaf culture. Alternately, for two of the films, you can watch the movie Children of a Lesser God at the beginning of the quarter (the first week) and then during the last week and compare and contrast your understanding of the film. This isn’t simply a movie review, but as it relates to Deafness.

Academic Dishonesty
You are expected to do your own work and behave honorably.  Cheating and plagiarism will result in a score of zero for the project as well as placing your character in suspect and lowering my esteem of you.  Plagiarism would include buying, copying, or borrowing documents or images from published, unpublished, or electronic sources for the purposes of deceiving your instructor as to it origins.

Assignments and due dates
Work is to be turned in on due dates. The most convenient and reliable method is to turn it in on the due date to the classroom, or by email, ( Assignments submitted by email need to be formatted using Word, or put in the body of the email. I CANNOT open Works.  I will always respond back that I received an assignment. If you do not get a response from me, I didn’t receive it and it is your responsibility to make sure I get it!  In the event of an emergency (look up what it means before you think you have one), you must contact me as soon as possible in order to make arrangements for delayed work.

Sign requires practice. It would be to your advantage to form a study group, work with a partner and practice daily in front of a mirror.  It is also a good idea to videotape yourself so that you can easily see how you are progressing.  To blend hand shapes, facial expression and body language into smooth and natural communication requires skill only obtained through practice and use.

Basic Housekeeping Info:

I don’t care if you eat or drink in the classroom, just clean up after yourself.

Cell phones need to be turned off or on vibrate. I understand that there may be a rare situation where you need to answer your phone, due to family situations or emergencies. You need to inform me of this possibility BEFORE class starts. If your phone rings during class time, thus disrupting me and your classmates, you will be required to bring snacks to be shared in the next class meeting. Do Not Even Think about texting during my class!

Off task behavior is disrespectful and annoys me. *This is college. You don’t have to be here.*

Don’t pack up and leave until I tell you to do so. To do otherwise is disrespectful and annoying. See above comment*.

Course adaptations:
If you need course adaptations or accommodations because of a disability, if you have emergency medical information to share with me, or if you need special arrangements in case we must evacuate the building, please notify me as soon as possible.  Anyone with questions about college services for disabled students should contact the Office of Disabled Student Services.
As a student in ASL 101, you are taking a course that is transferable to WA public four year colleges and universities. This course meets the content level and expectations of a comparable university course.
Information on Grading

The article review papers are worth 20 pts each. I will deduct 5 pts for each of the following:
No source cited
Less than 1 ½ pages in length
No article summary (a copy of the article is not acceptable)
Lacking personal response to the article
No class time or assignment title (example: “Article One”)

Points will be deducted based on the quality of summary and response. Your opinion, however, will not be graded, only your ability to express it.

WEBQUEST information:

Webquests maybe new to you, but I hope you will find this one to be a challenging and engaging learning tool.

You may work in small groups (2-4) or alone.
You will periodically be asked to evaluate your progress.

This webquest involves a series of steps to compile a portfolio of activities that will exhibit your understanding of Deafness as a minority group. You will be given an opportunity to share some of those activities the last week of class, but you are not required to make this presentation. You will note from the syllabus that those presenting do have a few extra days before the due date. You will need to inform me by March 7 if you are presenting or not. 
You will find the webquest at a link under my website.


Week OneClass introduction
Syllabus, Class introduction
Fingerspelling, ASL v English
Webquest and Bulletin board, fingerspelling quiz

Chapter ONE- Introductions and Personal Information
Vocabulary introductions
Lesson introduction, D/deaf v hearing cultures
Lessons, quiz

Week Two
Chapter TWO- Learning ASL
Vocabulary, Review of Lessons
Lessons chapter two, group exercise 

Week ThreeChapter THREE- Politeness
Vocabulary, Comparing cultures

Week FourChapter FOUR- Descriptions

Week Five Outline on webquest is due
Chapter- FIVE- Requests
Vocabulary, Lessons

Week SixChapter Six- Expressing Yourself
Vocabulary, Lessons


Week SevenChapter SEVEN- Descriptions

Week Eight
Chapter Eight Family and Friends

Week Nine
Chapter Nine- Descriptions

Week Ten
Chapter Ten- At home and Daily living
Set up time if you are presenting your webquest or activity

Week Eleven

Film: For A Deaf Son
Presentations and Performances are due

Celebration: Sinay’s house, Friday  March 18 at 7pm
All ASL students (past and current) are welcome
My address is 10716 E Grace Ave
From SCC, Take Trent East
Cross Argonne, go to the flashing yellow light,
At University, turn Right
Cross the Railroad, the second street is GRACE
Turn Left on Grace, mine is the 2nd house,
park across the street next to the wineaux busses