Wednesday, October 11, 2006

The Rocket's Red Hands

Today I was sitting in my sign language class during a break, trying to absorb everything and wondering how to explain it to you all. The class of 21 of us (two were missing today) were sitting in desks along the wall in a semi-circle. Each person was focused on practicing for a presentation. A man passed by the open door of the classroom, and I pictured the scene as he would--twenty-one people staring vacantly, hands waving wildly in random patterns. To me, things made a little more sense. All around me “rockets” soared and exploded in the air with the noise of fists striking each other and air escaping puffed cheeks.

Our assignment was to translate The Star Spangled Banner into ASL grammar. We spent hours last week in groups, discussing the meaning of the song, what parts were important to the point, and what proper grammar would be.

Yesterday we performed our version of the song. It was neat to see all the different translations--every single one distinctly unique. Our teacher told us we did well, but asked us to try something different. He told us to forget about it being a song, and instead to think about the story behind the poem.

So today we tried again. This time we had the story and emotions in our hearts, and let them flow out our hands. This time, instead of performing a song, we told a story. We felt emotion.

It was awesome. But I think the best part was the pride shining from our teacher’s face.


purple_kangaroo said...

You make me want to learn more sign language, the way you talk about it.

Chelle Y. said...

I wish I could see a video of you signing it. I saw it signed once at a Super Bowl. I remember how the children did it, and still practice it today. But, I cannot remember the part of "and the rockets red glare, the bombs bursting in air."

It is a powerful song, and when it is signed, it makes it even more beautiful.

I wrote about a little deaf boy in my post today. :)