Saturday, January 12, 2013

Teaching the Sign Language for "I Am a Child of God"

Although the LDS.org video of "I Am a Child of God" in sign language is beautiful, it is hard to learn to teach it from that video, and I really have not been able to find a great resource for learning it online. Therefore, I compared it against several sign language instructional sites and came up with this version, which is a simplified version of what you see on LDS.org.

I taught "Choose the Right" in sign language last year, and it went over REALLY well. The children loved it, and learned the song quickly after I started teaching it with sign.

The below lyrics are linked to show how to sign the words that I chose to highlight. I have also included some comments about the words of the song that you can explain to the children. Please note that I do have some experience with sign language and understand many of the concepts that can make a sign incorrect, but I am definitely not an expert. I selected these words after careful comparison and consideration (see Sources) section below. I plan to work on the other verses (update: verse 2 and 3 here) as well, but the first verse took me quite some time to research so it was as far as I could go for the time being.

Please Note: One of the websites I linked to for specific words of the song won't allow me directly link to the word of the song, but if I felt that I was the best version, I linked to it anyway - so once you go to the site, you have to do a search for that word.

I am a child
(although he explains two pats, LDS.org only does one pat)

of God,

and he has sent
(This should be done gently, not abruptly, because of the context of the song - I will explain that we express it gently in this song. Compare with the signing on LDS.org to see how gently she does it.)

me here,

Has given
(make sure you do the "give me" version instead of "give you" version - check LDS.org cuz it shows it coming from above as if from God)

me an earthly

home 
(love the explanation to think of "where you eat" and then "where to sleep")

With parents 
(I love being able to explain that you sign "dad" and "mom" back-to-back to mean "parent")

kind and

dear 
(this is a good time to explain that this is not the literal sign of dear but is a concept of "precious" or "love" - see explanation),

Lead me, Guide me, ("lead" and "guide" are basically the same)

Walk beside me,

Help me (explained here)

find the

way,

Teach me all that

I

must do,
(I love being able to explain to the children the explanation that I liked to: "The sign starts near your head and moves out.  Imagine taking information from your head and putting it into someone else's head." See the video version of it here.)

To live
(this is a super long explanation. The quick video is here but I chose to link to the other one because I like doing the signs without using letters, since that is the more controversial method. Therefore, you do the sign but with hands in a fist, not in the "l" shape. This sign shows up again in verse 3.)

with him (do the sign for "God" - seems more appropriate and looks like what they did on LDS.org) some 

day.

Sources:

The above selections were based on about five intensive hours of comparing the sign language for each word that I wanted to learn across about five major sign language sites. Sign language is that just like any language in that it does not translate straight across to English word per word. In addition, there are a lot of schools of thought on how to do specific signs. In other words, there are many ways to sign something incorrectly, but there are also many ways to sign something correctly! That is why I chose each sign based on careful reading and comparison.


"I Am a Child of God" on LDS.org
Click the ASL link on the right-hand side to open the video of the woman signing.

Signing Savvy Sign Language Video Dictionary

ASL Pro Sign Language Video Dictionary

Life Print Sign Language Video Dictionary
Life print includes a detailed description below the video of the person demonstrating the sign.


Sharing Through Primary Songs 2008
This is a Singing Time instruction book that you can buy online for about $4, but you can also view the sign language pages for "I am a Child of God" for free.

6 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. This is wonderful! Thank you for taking the time to simplify this for the kids (and adults). I can't wait for the other verses.

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  3. Thank you so much for letting me know! I will post two more verses late tonight/early tomorrow.

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  4. You are amazing! Thank you so much for doing this. I had been wanting to teach the kids this and was overwhelmed at how to figure it all out since the video on lds.org was so fast! Definitely will be checking out more of your ideas for singing time this year.

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    1. I am thrilled to hear that you are teaching the sign for this song. You are so welcome!

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  5. Thank you!!! I had been wanting to teach the kids sign language to this song for awhile, & wanted to use it in Nursery as well to engage the little ones, but I thought the same thing you did when I saw the church video--WAY too fast! I found a BSL version on YouTube, but it was way too basic, not even incorporating the few ASL signs I do know. Thank you so much for taking the considerable time to research the simplified ASL. The kids will rock this in the Primary program!

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