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Unit 14 – WEATHER WHAT Weather report

Clip 14.1a: Weather words















Learning vocabulary and aspects of Deaf culture

The students will learn vocabulary to describe the weather. They will also learn about how Deaf people access information provided by the visual media.

To prepare for this activity, either record a television weather report or provide access to one.

Introduce vocabulary
Blank out the English words on a copy of Worksheet 14.1 (Weather vocabulary) and number the pictures.

Project the altered worksheet and write the list of English words on the board. Ask the students to work in pairs to match the English words with the numbered pictures as they view Clip 14.1a (Weather words).

Afterwards, find out which signs they can remember from the viewing by showing flashcards you have made by enlarging the weather illustrations on Worksheet 14.2 (Describing the weather) and photocopying these onto card.

Play Clip 14.1a several times so that the students can practise signing the new vocabulary. Project the altered worksheet again and have the students repeat the matching task. Ask how many have changed their matches. Hand out copies of worksheet 14.1 so that they can check their matches.

Subtitles and captions
Ask the students whether they have seen subtitled or captioned movies and television programmes. Make sure that they know what these terms mean.

If you can provide access to the Internet, have the students find the web link of a major television provider and search their site for "captioned programmes" or services generally that they provide to Deaf and hearing-impaired people.

Ask them to find a symbol that is used to indicate captioned programmes in television programme listings in magazines, in newspapers, and on-line.

  • Are all programmes captioned?
  • Does the weather forecast have or need captions?
  • How are the captions accessed on a television set?

Discuss what they find out.

Play the television weather report you recorded or access one on the Internet, and this time, play it with the sound turned off.

Review what's been learnt
Find out from the students how much they can understand with the sound turned off and what helps them in their understanding. Discuss the use of visual data that helps viewers make meaning. Do they need the spoken text to access the weather report? What problems do they encounter when viewing other programmes?

Suggest that they watch a captioned programme with the sound turned off. If you have recorded such a programme, play it to your class and discuss how they experience the process of "turning off" their ears and using their eyes to make meaning.

Describing the weather

The students will ask for and give weather descriptions.

Revising learning
Play Clip 14.1a to help the students revise the weather vocabulary. Now play Clip 14.1b (Seasons). Check that they model the signs accurately and can identify the seasons quickly when others are signing them.

Extending skills
Now play Scene L – Life's a beach, which will extend their experience of "reading" NZSL, that is, using comprehension strategies to make meaning.

Ask them whether they can pick out the references to the weather. Use the Scene L transcript to help you check their responses.

Hand out copies of Worksheet 14.2, one per student. Have them take turns to use the question form identified below and point to one of the pictures on the worksheet. The student who responds signs the weather that is indicated.

What’s the weather like today?

TODAY WEATHER WHATwhq (optional) COLD HOTy/n q

Have them vary the sentence pattern by substituting YESTERDAY, TOMORROW, and NEXT WEEK for TODAY.

Pairs work: Sentence patterns
Hand out copies of the sentence patterns from the Unit 14 overview. Play Clip 14.2a (What will you do today?) so that the students can practise some of these patterns.

Have them work in pairs, taking turns to give a reason that includes a comment on the weather. Their partner responds, similarly commenting on the weather. Here is an example:

I hate July because it’s too cold.


Me too. July’s really cold.


Group work: Weather report
Divide the students into four groups.

Send each group to a corner of the classroom that you have labelled with the name of a season. Ask each group to prepare a short report on the weather in that season.

One student in each group then presents the information to the other groups, who draw the weather that is described, using the symbols on worksheet 14.2, without the other groups seeing what they draw. They check their responses with the signer.

Communicating about the weather

The students will communicate about the weather and its effect on their plans.

Play Clip 14.2b (About the weather). Hand out copies of the sentence patterns and have the students practise these along with the presenters.

Pairs work
Hand out copies of Worksheet 14.3 (Information gap task) that you have cut into two sections. Give Table A to one student and Table B to their partner so that they can complete the information gap task in pairs.

They use their knowledge of NZSL to ask each other for the information that does not appear on their own table. When they get the response, they enter the information in the appropriate column. When they have completed the task, they verify their responses by checking them against the information in the relevant table.

Group work
Play Clip 14.2a.

Now have the students work in groups. Using their completed tables, they choose a season and the weather description and make plans for what they will do or will not do, expressing their feelings about this.

Tell them to use the sentence patterns from the Unit 14 overview and any other language they have already learned to help them vary their responses.

Extending the task
To extend the task that the students have just worked on, get them to make a class collage about the four seasons in New Zealand. This task could link with what they are learning through their visual arts programme and the different kinds of media they are working with.

Preparing and performing a presentation
Divide the class into four groups. Each group finds the best way to express information in NZSL about the weather in one season or across all the seasons. The information should include communicating about their weather preferences, plans, and feelings.

Suggest that this be in the form of presentations by individual students, dialogues between students, or role-plays. Play scene L to give them a model to follow and to stimulate their creativity as they work together on this task.

Record the presentations. The recording will document the students’ performances and achievement across two learning areas, including their participation and contribution.

The recording will also offer a means for the students to critique their own and others’ achievements. For NZSL, use the assessment criteria in Unit 10 (Worksheet 10.1 Asessment criteria).

Assessing progress

The students will assess their own and others’ progress in achieving the intended outcomes.

From the options below, decide which task best suits your students.

Discuss the learning outcomes for Unit 14 with the students and decide on the assessment criteria (Worksheet 10.1) that are appropriate to the task and the process they will use.

 If you record the performances, the students will have the opportunity to self-assess as well as assessing each other. You could assess each student on the agreed criteria and give them written feedback on their achievement afterwards.


The students tell a story. Guide the storytelling by having them use a set of prompt cards that enable them to:

  • pick a place
  • select a person
  • choose an activity
  • describe the weather
  • describe feelings.

They put the cards together to form the basis of their story. Give them time to develop their stories and practise them so that they have a good level of fluency and confidence.

Remind them that they need to be a responsive audience by, for example, applauding by waving their hands in the air.

Ask them how they felt about their second experience of storytelling and what they learned as a result.

For example:

  • could they tell a story with more confidence? 
  • was it useful to have the cards as prompts? 

Ask them what tasks help them to learn best. From their responses, you will be able to adapt future tasks to suit their particular learning needs.

Role playing

Play Scene L. The students use their copies of the Scene L transcript as a prompt. Indicate that it is acceptable to vary the role-play as some students may prefer that option.

The students present their role-plays, either to another group or to the whole class.

Assess the performances. Ask the students to write down and file the feedback they receive so that they know what aspects of their NZSL learning they need to improve.

Students need a balance of controlled and free tasks to help them learn the language in order to communicate well with other NZSL users.

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