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Activity 1.3

Activity 1.3

Learning the fingerspelling alphabet

The students will learn the fingerspelling alphabet in its sequence from A to Z and will practise fingerspelling their first names.

Fingerspelling the alphabet

Play Clip 1.1c: The alphabet. Ask the students to notice that signers mostly use their fingers to spell out words and keep eye contact with the viewer when fingerspelling. They do not look down at their fingers. They mouth the whole word, not each individual letter.

Hold up a fingerspelling alphabet chart, which you can make by enlarging "Worksheet 1.3: Fingerspelling" and reproducing it on card. Do a round robin, with the students signing each letter in turn.

Place the chart on the classroom wall for reference. The students fingerspell the alphabet with a partner, seeing who can be the first to finish.

Then they fingerspell along with clip 1.1c. Hand out copies of worksheet 1.3. Give the students the web link reference so that they can go online to practise fingerspelling in their own time.

Fingerspelling names

Play Clip 1.2: Introductions. Play the clip again and have the students practise their signing along with the presenters.

Either hand out cards, with the first names of class members on them, or project them.

The students fingerspell their own first names and then learn to fingerspell the names of three other students.

As a class activity, have the students introduce themselves using the following pattern. The first student signs:

Give name

HELLO IX-me NAME fs-(name)

Ask for name


The next student responds and then turns to a third student to ask the question, and so on around the class until everyone has had a turn. Time the activity. Challenge the students to develop their NZSL fluency by completing the task once more in a shorter time.

Play Scene A – Ben comes to visit, where Ben flies in from Christchurch to stay with his friend Max. Use your copy of the Scene A transcript to check your students’ understanding of the scene. Ask them to pick out the language they know and guess what is going on in the rest of the scene. Replay scene A often to help your students build their understanding of NZSL as it is used in everyday situations.

You will see name signs used in Scene A. Name signs are commonly used in Deaf culture instead of fingerspelling a person’s name.

About NZSL
Page on this site that is an overview of NZSL. Includes the section "Name signs", which explains how a person's sign name is created.

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Name Class Section
Document Worksheet 1.3: Fingerspelling Worksheet 1

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