Finger Spelling

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Aims and objectives
This activity is aimed at students at all levels to familiarise themselves with the British two-handed finger spelling alphabet. The activity is an excellent introduction to allow and encourage students to communicate with people less able than themselves.

Previous knowledge
No previous knowledge is needed for this resource although, as part of the PSHE/Citizenship curriculum, it would be useful for class discussions take place into hearing impairment to provide a balanced foundation.

In the classroom
Students can choose from three activities: ‘Make a Sentence’, ‘Know Your Signs’ and ‘What’s This Word?’.

Make a Sentence: the student inputs their own choice of words which are then converted into symbols. This is done by clicking on the appropriate symbol on screen. As each symbol is clicked, the appropriate letter appears in the word boxes lower down the screen. When the student is happy with the word in the word boxes they click Enter. This causes the word to be converted to the appropriate symbols and be displayed in the sentence box. When the user is happy with the whole sentence they have the option of printing it, playing the game again or returning to the menu page by clicking on the appropriate buttons.

Know Your Signs: the student is presented with a word (in alphabet form) and has to convert it into symbols by clicking on the corresponding symbols on screen.

What’s This Word?: the student is presented with a word shown in symbols and has to interpret the word and convert it into alphabetical form.

Although the activity is well-suited to individual or small group work, it can be used as a whole class resource if an interactive whiteboard is available.

Support materials description: Web Links:
The British Deaf Association has a comprehensive site which includes the BDA’s finger spelling font to use on your word processor. Enter 'font' into the search box and follow the link for The British Deaf Association online - Free finger spelling font then follow the instructions. You will be asked for your email address. The font is then emailed to you automatically. Add it to your current fonts by adding it to the fonts file in your version of Windows (usually found on the C drive).

Well worth a look is the RNID site which has an animated program that allows you to type in a letter, word or phrase and see the finger spelling.

You can also visit the DeafSign site where you will find a 2-Handed Keyboard Translator and a BSL 2-Handed Finger spelling Translator. Type in a letter or phrase and it will show you the signs.

The finger_spelling.pdf has a printable illustration of British two-handed finger spelling alphabet which can be printed out for reference purposes or laminated onto card as a permanent resource.

British Deaf Association



Curriculum references
PSHE/Citizenship – KS2:
4a, d, e, f, g

Citizenship – KS3:
1f, 2c, 3a, b, c

Citizenship – KS4:
1f, 2a, c, 3a, b, c

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