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Sign Language Students Become the Teachers at Fairfield

Massapequa High School students in the American Sign Language program made a connection with third graders at Fairfield Elementary School while barely speaking a word. The best way to teach sign language to the youngsters was to do it from the start.

More than 30 students from the high school’s ASL Level 3 and college-level classes visited Fairfield for the second straight year to teach basic sign language. Topics included animals, the calendar, colors, emotions, holidays, numbers, occupations, sports, transportation and weather.

Each group of ASL students was assigned a specific topic and used pictures to help their younger peers learn the signs. After teaching vocabulary, they led games for the third graders to reinforce their knowledge.

“I like seeing the kids and how fast they can pick up sign language and remember it,” said senior Sarah Briggs. “They got really involved in the activities. It was much easier to teach without using your voice than I thought.”

ASL instructors Melanie Smith and Megan Forrester watched as their students took on the teaching role and were proud of the job they did in planning and leading the activities. The program ended with the only voice interaction of the day, as the high school students gave a presentation on deaf culture and talked about devices used by deaf people.