Within a single period, ASL goes to a field trip and back

Vonny Lee’s American Sign Language class dropped off their backpacks and took out books and flashcards when they got to class on Jan. 26. After a short review from Lee, the class left the school and walked a few blocks to Central Park Elementary School. There, each student was paired with one or two kindergartners to teach them ASL terms.

According to Lee, who planned the trip, she wanted her students to work with children because she believes that teaching others would help her students remember the signs better. She arranged the visit to Central Park because in addition to being a new elementary school, it’s also the closest school to Santa Clara, about 15 minutes away by foot.

The students taught each kindergartner how to sign his or her name as well as a few other simple ASL terms. Each student also had a children’s book they made as their final project last semester. The books contained signs that the students used as they read to the kindergartners.

“I feel strongly that when teaching, it helps you learn the signs so much better,” Lee said.

Lee initiated the trip by contacting the principal of Central Park, Miakje Kamstra. Principal Kamstra was very supportive of the idea, so the two arranged a time for the ASL class to visit.

Jennifer Zeiter, a kindergartner teacher, said the children were very excited for the high schoolers’ visit. They had fun playing games with the high schoolers and learning ASL terms.

Kindergartners and high schoolers alike enjoyed the experience.

“It was wonderful because they’re so cute,” ASL student freshman Vanessa Hernandez said.

She said teaching the kindergartners is a good way to help her remember the signs better and that she would go back if she could.

Freshman Marissa Alcantar, another ASL student, said the trip was a good opportunity to learn how to work with children. She was excited about teaching the kindergartners new things.

After about an hour of working with the kids, the high schoolers walked back to Santa Clara. They returned in time to pick up their belongings from Lee’s room and make it to fourth period.

Due to the success of the first trip to Central Park, Lee plans to take her students back again as soon as she can.