American Sign Language

ASL 103 Spring 2011

INSTRUCTOR:  Sinay Stenlund
Cell phone: 509.499.4033
Web site:
OFFICE: “virtual office” upon request.

Intermediate Conversational Sign Language by Willard J. Madsen

ASL Dictionary
Learning American Sign Language  by Padden, etc. (101, 102 book)

Course Description and Goals

This is the third in a related series of courses that focus on the use and study of American Sign Language (ASL). Special focus will be placed on increasing sign clarity, fluency, non manual behavior and appropriate sign choices.  Course content includes the ways in which signers contruct meaning and messages in ASL, grammatical variation, and discourse stategies over a variety of topics. Artistic expressions of ASL will be explored, including performance signing and ASL poetry.

Course outcomes/objectives:

Upon completion of the course, the student will be able to:
Demonstrate knowledge of specific ASL mouth movements and non manual behavior and their meaning, and apply them appropriately.
Demonstrate ability to maintain more in-depth conversational skills with ASL users possessing a variety of skill levels.
Describe way in which signers construct meaning and messages in ASL.
Demonstrate appropriate use of and comprehension of ASL syntax over a variety of topics, conversations, and discourse styles.
ASL 103 will focus on using the vocabulary learned in ASL 101 and 102.  You will learn colloquial American Sign Language and idiomatic expressions used by the Deaf community. The pace will be intensive as we build conversational abilities.

Class meetings are considered “SILENT”.  You are required to participate.  There will be NO talking unless you are assigned to voice. Turn your voice off when you enter the classroom.

You need to find a study partner/group.  The level and pace of this class requires it. 

Language is only acquired though use.  Regular class attendance is to your benefit, as attendance and grades have a direct correlation.   It is your responsibility to catch up on any material that was covered if you miss class. 

If you find yourself becoming overwhelmed, it is your responsibility to communicate with me.  Despite the unusual circumstances of our interaction, I am always willing to help in whatever way I can. 

You will need to print 5 copies of “Weekly Portfolio of Activities”. They are set up with two per page, so you can cut them in half in order to turn one sheet into me each week. Our activities will be fairly routine in structure, but varied in content.  I will provide an example at the end of this document, and the printable version will be on ANGEL and on my website.

Weekly assignments will account for 500 pts of your grade. The other half of your grade will be earned by a series of projects designed for your learning and enjoyment!


1.You will be asked to choose a song from the extensive examples available online. You can work alone or with a group. For this part of the project, you will translate the ASL translated song into glosses!  This will be worth 200 pts.  Due: 5/2

2.For the second project, you (and your group) will sign the song, back in ASL. You are welcome to use the same translation that you watched before, or if you feel you can improve upon it, you are welcome do to that as well!  200 points.  Due: The last week of school. Scheduling will be arranged later.

EXAMPLE:  Watch Keith Wann doing Ice Ice Baby and transcribe his signs into glosses, for the first project.  For the second project you will sign it back into ASL!  Do not use a song that Ally Bally Babe has already glossed for you (of course!) that would be contrary to the POINT of this exercise! You will be turning in the URL with your 1st project. The signing portion can be done live (easiest) or turned in on video for me to watch alone (the “chicken” method).

3.I will provide you with the material to translate, and you will be asked to record yourself signing.  You will watch the video and do a self review as well have a classmate do a peer review for you. You will then turn in the reviews to me, as well as a copy of your glosses, but not the video (you can put it online if you want me to preview it). You will apply the improvement advice from the reviews and re-sign the material on the SAME “tape” as the first… then turn in the tape with both versions to me.  The first version, along with the peer and self review, are worth 200 points.  Due: 5/9. The second version, along with the second peer and self review are worth 200 points.  Due date: 5/27 for YVCC, 6/3 for SCC.
4.You will have the opportunity to earn 200 points by doing a pre-arranged activity, from the following list and due 5/27 for YVCC, 6/3 for SCC, unless performing.
a.Attend a Deaf church, social or function.  Report on the event by an oral or written report.
b.Attend two interpreted events and report on your experience, either orally or written.
c.Towards the end of the quarter, perform a song, poem or short story for the class. 

Grade Review:Portfolios Weekly Events        1000
Song translation200
Song performance200
Video draft200
Video final200
Prearranged activity200

A total of 2000 points, with a standard 10% break down will determine your grade.  Extra credit may be earned by presenting a performance at the end of the quarter or by attending a Deaf social event. Performances must be pre-arranged with me. 

As a word to the wise:  While you maybe able to “fake it” though the course work, always remember, you have come this far with the purpose of learning, you have worked hard for two quarters to lay the groundwork for this quarter, when your dedication will pay off in conversational ability.

In order to ever be fluent with a language, you must interact with native users.  I understand the difficulty this can present in rural areas; however, I encourage you to make every effort to attend at least one social event with the Deaf community.  You must also take every opportunity to communicate with your classmates using proper ASL.  I look forward to a challenging and rewarding quarter.  As always, please feel free to contact me at any time.

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 103, 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.
Portfolio Organization:
Weekly Portfolio of Assignments
Picture pages worked with _____________________________________/10
ASL to English Translation exercises worked with:________________________/10
Movie/Lesson review (attached)________/10
2 Peer Reviews (attached)________/20
Outside Activity Report (attached)________/20
Discussion group names:________________________________/20


Working the picture pages will increase your understanding of conversational behaviors, there are also cultural notes that you will learn from. Have your partner sign off for you on your Portfolio sheet to verify that you completed the work.
The ASL to English translations are similar to the English to ASL exercises that you will do for your peer reviews. Working them will make the peer reviews easier. Have your partner sign off for you to verify that you completed the work.
Write a short reaction to the video or lesson we had. This doesn’t have to be profound, it can be notes taken while you watch it, or something you thought about later or a report of a conversation or thought you had about the video.
Peer Reviews are completed by your fellow students. They can be completed at the same time. Please do not use the same classmates every week. You need the input from a variety of eyes.
Outside activities can include visits to Deaf related websites, (,,, or any of the other great sites) it can be reading an article about deafness, going to an interpreted event, a coffee chat, simply talking to a deaf person. There are so many things you can do with this, please use your imagination and check with me!
On Thursdays, you will share with a small group about your outside activity. This will increase your conversational ability and should be fun! List your group members on your portfolio sheet.
“Organization” simply means that your portfolio is in the correct order:
Portfolio sheet
Movie/lesson review
Peer Review
Outside Activity Report
You will be amazed at how your language increases this quarter, of course, it is all about what you put into it. If you follow my instructions, you will be well on your way to being comfortable in this language. Trust me, I haven’t lied to you yet…. That you know of  

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102 Syllabus
103 Syllabus
101 Syllabus
Video Review Form
Peer Review Form
Weekly Portfolio Sheets