Weekly outline

  • General

    Supporting Literacy Among Deaf Children (LING095 -- fall 2014)

    In this course, we will develop ebooks for young deaf children. Adults can “read” these books with the children regardless of their knowledge of American Sign Language (or lack thereof). Working from beloved picture books, we will add video clips of actors signing the stories as well as voice-overs and questions about sign language that the interested reader can click on to find information.

    All students must have a rudimentary knowledge of American Sign Language or concurrently take ASL.

     A background in linguistics, theater, film, early childhood development, or education would be helpful.

    Students from Gallaudet University will join Swarthmore College students in this jointly taught course. We will travel to Gallaudet University three times over the semester and students from Gallaudet University will travel to Swarthmore College at least once over the semester.

    Monday, 1:15 - 4pm, McCabe Computer Lab #306
    Instructors: Donna Jo Napoli, Professor Linguistics, Swarthmore College and Gene Mirus, Asst. Professor, ASL and Deaf Studies, Gallaudet University

  • September 1 - September 7


    introductions.  organizational comments.  

    We'll talk a lot about the situation of Deaf people in America and globally -- but you all know that -- this will be a refresher

    and we will talk about the jobs listed at the very top of this moodle page and how to divide them up.

    We also looked at: Bill Cosby "Noah" and a Jack Benny video

    And we viewed the “Love you forever” story at


    Reading assignment for next class:

    There are seven papers to read -- and if you took Ling 63 last year, you already read most of them.  Anyway, you need read only ONE of them.  We will divide them up, so that each person is presenting an article to the rest of us next week.  For this, powerpoint is preferred.  We will make a "library" of all our ppts, so that we can make them available to others who might want to mimic our course.

    Also:  Read generally about the controversy over small children using digital books by themselves: http://ecetech.wikispaces.com/eBooks

    and look at this report that Scholastic produced on ebook use among children: http://mediaroom.scholastic.com/files/kfrr2013-wappendix.pdf

  • September 8 - September 14

    • Nadeen and Shelby -- the 4 French books -- WE DECIDED NOT TO USE ANY
    • Tess and Abby --  the aeroplane story -- WE DECIDED NOT TO USE IT
    • Ian and Fatema --  the website http://en.childrenslibrary.org/ -- THEY RECOMMENDED GULLIVER'S TRAVELS

    Presentations on the articles assigned for this week

    • Erika -- Touchscreen generation
    • Fatema -- Button & Johnson shared reading
    • Ian -- Humphries -- schooling in ASL
    • Tess - van Dijken - open access to living books on Internet
    • Shelby -- Roskos & B -- ebooks shared reading
    • Abby -- Sonnenschein & M -- home based reading 
    • Elana -- Loes& DeKlerk improving reading instruction


    • Erika is trying to find a student from Japan (WE NOW HAVE A STUDENT)
    • Rehana and Nadeen are trying to find students from Nepal (WE NOW HAVE A STUDENT)and Greece (WE STILL NEED A STUDENT)

    Discuss visual and other narrative properties necessary for a successful picture book for deaf children by comparing a wide range of picture books for the general public. The focus here is on delight from the point of view of the child.

    Look at the Texas website about ASL Storytelling: 


    View the “Love you forever” story at


    Discuss the choice of story; the way the story is told in ASL; what elements in the story teller’s signing might be hard for the adult (and maybe the child) who doesn’t know ASL to understand and how else she might have done it to help both child and adult to enter into ASL. 


    Readings for this week are the three articles below.  Again, you will divide up and prepare them for presentation with ppt.

    Plus please view the Adam Stone video.

  • September 15 - September 21

    Presentations on the articles assigned for this week

    • Ian -- Humphries -- schooling in ASL
    • Ashley-- Fails et al. -- collaborative story reading
    • Nadeen -- Stone -- new directions in ASL-English bilingual books
    • Riley -- Druin -- children as co-designers

    At this point you should have sent me all the pdf's.  So I hope we will have already sent them off to Gallaudet.  Tess and Shelby will report to us about anything new they've found at Gutenberg.  If anything there is good, we'll pass it on to Gally asap.

    Tell me which book you’d like to work on and write a reason why (just one side of one page, double-spaced at a maximum – but it can be less than that).  Include how you might approach two or three of the scenes in the story.  You should do this for all books you’d be content to work on (so if all the books interest you, you’ll hand in separate assignments for each). The Gallaudet students are doing this too.  This is due to your home-campus professor by email attachment (in WORD please – not in a pdf) by noon on Thursday 18 September.

    In class look at and discuss the Gallaudet guidelines here:


    WE WILL GO TO GALLAUDET on SUNDAY 21 SEPT -- This will take all day long.  You will form groups to work on the ebooks.  To prepare for that, in class we will watch a video clip about being allies:


    OUR RULES FOR BEING ALLIES: 1) no voicing, 2) no fingerspelling, 3) patience, smiles, and cookies

    Examine ASL story-telling techniques together by looking at the videos here:  http://www.jalc.edu/ipp/flash/stories.html

    Discuss differences between “translating” and “retelling” and using gesture – with a focus on what works for the deaf child.  Use some of the video clips here to show translation, telling in ASL, and telling in gestural language that is not ASL (perhaps show WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE?)    http://1001booksinasl.blogspot.com/

    View the “Peter Rabbit” story at   http://texasdhhresources.org/apps/pages/index.jsp?uREC_ID=160850&type=d&pREC_ID=391332

    Discuss the choice of story; the way the story is told in ASL; what elements in the story teller’s signing might be hard for the adult (and maybe the child) who doesn’t know ASL to understand and how else she might have done it to help both child and adult to enter into ASL.

    View story "Always in Trouble":   http://texasdhhresources.org/apps/pages/index.jspuREC_ID=160850&type=d&pREC_ID=391332   discuss the narrative choices.

    Talk about the parents' issue in dealing with ASL -- look at this videoclip:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s9-ieU0vl0Q

                Assignment for next class


    Then for next Monday's class:

                Read the Bahan article below and view the 13 video files that go with that article.  (Note: File 2.2 was too large to put on Moodle, so we can watch it together in class next week.)

                View the three videos of Ted talks.  Come to class prepared to discuss any single thing you’d like to inject into your ebook (such as a valuable experience from your own childhood, like collecting shells, or an activity you value, like taking photographs).

  • September 22 - September 28

    We have ordinary class on Monday 22 Sept.  But because there are two classes this week (Sunday and Monday), we will not have class on Monday 6 October.

    We will discuss ideas for telling your book’s story, the issues you need to face in retelling your story, and ASL story-telling techniques in general.

    Look at “The Real Princess” in class.  Talk about what goes into ASL rendering of it.     http://www.simtalk.com/jill2/The_Real_Princess/trp0.htm

    Assignment for next class:  

    Read Berke 2013 article.

    Look through all the VL2 research briefs

  • September 29 - October 5

    Students from Ling 63 and Riley will help us through intricacies of iBook Author.  We will do the  iBooks Author tutorial  and the ChromaKey tutorial via  LYNDA online.  If you click on the More arrow at the top of the Dash (next to GoogleApps), you can select LYNDA and log in with your Swat credentials. Once on the homepage, you can run a search for iBooks Author in the top right corner, which will turn up hours of videos on lots of different tools in iBooks.

    We'll use Chromakey background while videotaping---this means we can easily put the illustrations in the background of the signers using video software like iMovie, Final Cut Pro, Final Cut Express, etc. 

    We will all layout the same story (one we rejected) and look at each other’s layouts.  We'll also talk about what we envision in retellings in ASL and we’ll give constructive criticism.

    If there is time, we will talk about choices for the books each group is doing..

    REALLY what happened is that Jeremy Polk came and did a tutorial on final cut pro -- and we went from group to group looking at the issues each is facing.

    Assignment for next class:  WE ARE NOT MEETING ON 6 OCTOBER because we had an extra meeting already.  However, by early next week (hopefully by Monday 6 October) the Gally students will send the Swat students the videos.  Insert them into your ebooks.  Then share the ebooks with your whole group (Gally & Swat) by dropbox or Google or whatever you use.  Everyone’s job will then be to look at those ebooks and make a list of points that can be improved, as well as points that are perfect (don't forget praise).  Consider everything – from formatting to storytelling techniques to technical aspects of any part of the ebook.  Everything.

  • October 6 - October 12

    We have no class meeting on 6 October.  But you will receive the films from the Gally students by now, so insert them into your ebooks.  Via Skype meet with your group.  Discuss improvements.

    • October 13 - October 19

      fall break for the Philly side

      • October 20 - October 26

        In class on Monday 20 October, we will look at each other's ebooks and offer constructive criticism.

        We are aiming to finish a final draft by 17 November -- so it's important that we get the best draft possible in front of the PSD kids on the 10th, so there isn't much to change by the 20th.

        • October 27 - November 2

          Monday 27 October -- we'll have normal class and skype with the Gally students

          We will have class on SUNDAY 2 NOVEMBER -- The Gally students are coming here. We'll have lunch with them.  And then we'll be with them all afternoon -- from 1 to 4. 

          But we will also have ordinary class on Monday 3 November.  (Because we're having two classes in a single week again, we won't have class on the Monday before Thanksgiving.)

          Assignment: Be there on Sunday and work with your group to figure out how to make the book better.

          In Monday 3 November's class, we'll debrief about what went down on Sunday and we'll skype with the Gally students as they're working on the revised videos.

          Assignment: The Gally students will send you the revised videos by Thursday 6 November.  Immediately get to work inserting them into the ebooks.

          • November 3 - November 9

            We'll continue inserting the videos this week and discussing how to make everything better.

            • November 10 - November 16

              We'll bring the second draft of our ebooks to the Pennsylvania School for the Deaf and get feedback from the children.

              Elana will meet us at the PSD at 1:45.

              Everyone else will meet at the rose garden (Parrish circle by the library) at 1:10.  Please be there, because we need to be on the road by 1:15, since the children will be waiting for us and the school day ends fairly early.
              Be sure to have your ebook loaded onto an iPad and bring it with you.

              Assignment: talk with the Gally students about any further changes you think you need based on what happened at the PSD.  Negotiate new videoclips where necessary. We are aiming for a final version by 17 NOVEMBER.

              • November 17 - November 23

                In class we'll look at everyone's most recent draft and be on skype with the gally students about any further changes needed.  We are hoping that the draft you have today is the final draft.

                Assignment: We do NOT have class on 24 Nov. because we had two classes in October.

                By Monday 1 December, we need your final final final draft.  

                • November 24 - November 30

                  1) hopefully your gally partners will be sending you feedback on your work.  as you deal with the feedback, if you need to pull in me and Gene, do that.  And I will be available in my office whenever you need me -- so just tell me.

                  2) Shelby's Gally partner (Marissa) said:
                  I think there should be a transition for every beginning and ending.. every time I finish my clip, it goes back to the original clip and I don't like that. Could we add a slow fade or freeze time transition or something like that?
                  This is a comment that goes as well for all the ebooks I watched yesterday.  It's just a problem of iba.  But Marissa's suggested solution is a good one.  Does anyone already know how to do this?  If so, can you please chime in and tell everyone?
                  3) please fix your videos so they do not turn on automatically -- the kids want to control when they turn on, as we saw yesterday.  
                  4) Don't forget that we are adding a full video of the whole story at the end of the book for all books EXCEPT national geographic ones -- no illustrations -- just a video.  If you do not have this full video from your Gally partner, tell me asap.
                  5) Please would you send me an update by noon WEDNESDAY 19 NOVEMBER telling me:
                  1) what you still need from your Gally partner
                  2) what issues you still need to resolve in the ebook
                  3) what help you need from me
                  6) please send me your latest draft of your ebook by noon on MONDAY 24 Dec -- so that I can look at it Monday afternoon with whoever shows up (see #7) 
                  7) We do not have class officially on Monday 24 Nov because we already had an extra class (back in October) -- but your final final draft is due in class on Monday 1 December -- remember that.  HOWEVER, the mccabe library computer classroom is ours this Monday (the 24th).  And we can use it to show each other the ebooks and help each other with problems.  Please tell me if you plan to be there that day (this is not coercion -- i just want to know). But no matter what, I will be there and I will be grateful to anyone who can help me watch the videos and make comments.  We will watch ALL the videos (because you'll have sent them by noon -- :-))  Ellen and Rehana, if you can manage to come, I'd love your sharp eyes.


                  • December 1 - December 7

                    MONDAY 1 DECEMBER We will debrief about the course and make recommendations for next time.

                    Our final class will be on FRIDAY 5 DECEMBER -- we'll be going down to Gally again for a wonderful celebration and for a public viewing of our ebooks.

                    We will leave the college from the BENJAMIN WEST PARKING LOT at 8:30 am sharp. We'll eat sandwiches in the van.  We'll leave Gally at 3pm to return home.

                    On THURSDAY 11 DECEMBER we are going to have a showing of our ebooks to the whole campus from 10-noon in the Science Center Coffee Bar.  Then that night, we're going to be part of the DHCC annual Open House and Holiday Party, from 5:30 to 8pm at 630 Fairview Road (right down Chester Ave), in Community Room Suite 102.