Skip to Main Content

Little Wound School

Taopi Cikala Owayawa

Once a Mustang, Always a Mustang

Mustang Staff Login

Sign Buddies



Welcome to Sign Buddies Online Sign Language classes!

We also have links to online dictionaries and other resources as you learn to sign.

Staff classes will begin the first week of September.

Why should you learn Sign Language?

We think everyone should learn Sign language!  Here are some good reasons from the University of Rochester.....

American Sign Language (ASL) is the language of the Deaf community in the United States and much of Canada. It is the central vehicle for communication among Deaf people, and is therefore also a binding force in their culture. 

ASL uses a gestural-visual modality in which manual signs, facial expressions, and body movements and postures all convey complex linguistic information. It is a fully developed language, with its own systems for articulation, forming words and sentences, and meaning.

ASL is estimated to be the fourth most commonly used language in the U.S. Students of ASL learn about other aspects of American Deaf culture, including the values and outlooks of Deaf people, and social and educational aspects of deafness. 

The study of ASL also provides excellent preparation to students for professional careers as sign language interpreters, sign language instructors, counselors, audiologists, speech pathologists, program administrators, community service personnel, and many other deaf-related vocations.

Here is a great opportunity...

ASL Learning Opportunity at Little Wound School

Let's get started.....

Students will develop basic fingerspelling, vocabulary and grammar skills. Discussion of Deaf Culture and interactions with the Deaf Community will be key components of this course. We will also compare ASL with PISL – Plains Sign Language.


  Manual ABC's

 Try these two activities. There are two links to sites that will help you practice fingerspelling:

 ASL Fingerspelling



Reading finger-spelling from Dr. Bill Vicars, a free American Sign Language (ASL) Fingerspelling Practice Site  

Here are some ideas how you can improve from John Miller:

Tips for Reading Fingerspelling  By John Miller

Many people talk to me about their frustrations with fingerspelling and want suggestions on how to improve their receptive skills when it comes to reading fingerspelling. My suggestions tend to follow a lot of the same rules that apply to teaching a child to read:

1.    Practice, practice, practice...the more you work on reading other people's fingerspelling, the better you will get. Everyone's fingers are different so it is important to practice with many different partners in order to experience all the styles of hands. (Unfortunately not everyone has long easily read fingers!)

2.       Don't get stuck on reading each letter as an individual letter. Instead think of it and the "shape" of the word. Watch for double letters and the beginning and ending letters. You should be able to fill in the rest with the contextual clues (much like you do with reading an unknown word in a sentence in a written passage).

3.       Instead of saying each letter as you are seeing it, say each SOUND. (You are basically sounding it out.) This will help as you are trying to figure out the word. That way when you miss a letter here and there, by sounding it out you will be able to fill in the blanks.

Fingerspelling, hands-down is one of the trickiest parts of the language. Don't get too frustrated. Take it slow at first. Don't be afraid to ask a deaf person to "spell it again please", they more than likely will be happy to repeat themselves.


 Type in the name of a food and you will see how to sign it! Many food signs are iconic- they look like the food or how it is eaten.  Look up the signs for:

ice cream cone - holding the cone and licking the ice cream

bread - slicing the loaf of bread

sandwich - putting two pieces of bread together

milk- milking the cow

pop - opening the pop top of the can

popcorn - the kernels of popcorn bursting

What other foods can you find that "look like" the sign?  

Here is a comparison of ASL and PISL

Comparing the sign differences between American Sign Language (ASL) & Crow Sign Language (PISL). Flarin Big Lake is a member of the Crow Tribe. Flarin is the last Deaf person in Crow Tribe who uses Crow Sign Language (language variety of Plains Sign Language). He kindly emphasized PISL is not a nationwide native sign language. It's used in the plains area – Crow, Cheyenne, Flathead, Rocky Boy, etc. The video is in honor of Flarin Big Lake on Indigenous People Day. Posted by Seek the World on Tuesday, October 9, 2018.


 Can you tell what animals this represents?



This table includes a few common noun and verb pairs.

Action words or verbs often are a mime of the action they represent. Signs for terms such as throw, catch, eat, drink, slide, sneeze, fall look like the action. Can you find more iconic signs for verbs?
Some nouns and verbs in American Sign Language (ASL) share the same handshapes. You distinguish the part of speech by signing the motion once if it’s a verb and twice if it’s a noun. Although most nouns don’t have a verb that looks the same, all but a few nouns need the double motion.


Because about 90% of Deaf people are born to hearing parents, they absorb their culture from their peers, not their families. Most Deaf children who attend residential schools for the deaf pick up ASL from their classmates (usually from the few classmates who are born to Deaf parents). Because of this source of cultural identity, one of the first questions Deaf people ask upon meeting each other is where they went to school and who their teachers were. In this way, the Deaf community can become very close-knit, as each member becomes familiar with residential schools in various regions of the country.

 American Deaf culture centers on the use of ASL and identification and unity with other people who are Deaf. A Deaf sociolinguist, Dr. Barbara Kannapel, developed a definition of the American Deaf culture that includes a set of learned behaviors of a group of people who are deaf and who have their own language (ASL), values, rules, and traditions. In 1913, George W. Veditz, president of the National Association of the Deaf, reflected in an old movie the sense of identity ASL gives Deaf individuals when he signed, "As long as we have deaf people on Earth, we will have signs, and as long as we have our films, we can preserve our beautiful sign language in its original purity. It is our hope that we all will love and guard our beautiful sign language as the noblest gift God has given to deaf people."

The values, behaviors, and traditions of Deaf culture include:

o    Promoting an environment that supports vision as the primary sense used for communication at school, in the home, and in the community, as vision offers individuals who are deaf access to information about the world and the independence to drive, travel, work, and participate in every aspect of society.

o    Valuing children who are deaf as the future of deaf people and Deaf culture. Deaf culture therefore encourages the use of ASL, in addition to any other communication modalities the child may have.

o    Support for bilingual ASL/English education of children who are deaf so they are competent in both languages.

o    Inclusion of specific rules of behavior in communication in addition to the conventional rules of turn taking. For example, consistent eye contact and visual attention during a conversation is expected. In addition, a person using sign language has the floor during a conversation until he or she provides a visual indicator (pause, facial expression, etc.) that he or she is finished.

o    Perpetuation of Deaf culture through a variety of traditions, including films, folklore, literature, athletics, poetry, celebrations, clubs, organizations, theaters, and school reunions. Deaf culture also includes some of its own "music" and poetry as well as dance.

o    Inclusion of unique strategies for gaining a person's attention, such as:

§ gently tapping a person on the shoulder if he or she is not within the line of sight,

§ waving if the person is within the line of sight, or

§ flicking a light switch a few times to gain the attention of a group of people in a room.

What should I call people who cannot hear?  Old fashioned terms used to be acceptable are now considered an insult. Many Deaf people are proud of being Deaf (capital "D").  Do you know any Deaf people?  Ask them what they prefer and why. Which is correct... Deaf, deaf, hard of hearing, or hearing impaired? 

I want to learn more ASL!

 Signing Online offers web-based courses, designed to effectively teach you American Sign Language (ASL) at your own pace from anywhere using your computer, tablet or smart phone. These courses focus on conversational ASL and use videos to demonstrate the visual nature of signing. The courses are perfect for anyone wanting to learn ASL.

ASL University
American Sign Language University is an online American Sign Language curriculum resource center.  ASLU provides many free self-study materials, lessons, and information, as well as fee-based instructor-guided courses. Many instructors use the ASLU lessons as a free "textbook" for their local ASL classes. This is a great sign language resource site for ASL students and teachers. Here you will find information and resources to help you learn ASL and improve your signing.

Gallaudet University

 Our American Sign Language classes are based on interactive teaching, learning, and communication. In order to take full advantage of the learning that transpires, students are expected to manage and direct their academic progress with support and guidance from their instructor. Our online courses are immersion courses; they are self-paced and are not the “softer, easier way”! Deadlines have been set to ensure that you have adequate time to complete all assignments within the current session. Active participation is required. Viewings, assignments and activities are posted online and students are required to log in to submit video assignments electronically and participate in course discussions through video. Students are expected to have basic computer and Internet literacy, and are responsible for obtaining their own Internet access and web camera.

ASLdeafined is a subscription based website for American Sign Language (ASL) utilizing video lessons. The content is for anyone who wishes to learn ASL, regardless of age. It has been designed to instruct Deaf students, parents of Deaf children, and the community-at-large. You may cancel your subscription at any time. All lessons are taught by Deaf experts of ASL.

ASl Pro- was created to be a free resource for the classroom teacher.

Hearing Loss Simulation: 



Deaf Awareness Week is observed every year in the last whole week of September from Sunday to Saturday. The first World Congress of The Deaf was held in the last week of September in 1951 and since then the final week in the month of September came to be Deaf Awareness Week.

Martha's Vineyard