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Unit 3 – HOW-OLD IX-you How old are you?

Communicating about age

The students will learn to communicate about age in NZSL.

Getting started
To warm up, revise the numbers from one to 20.


Tell students to practise signing along with the presenters. Show the number flashcards from Units 1 and 2 in an ordered or random sequence and have the students sign the numbers.

Reviewing and assessing progress
Play Scene B – Meeting the family, which you used in Unit 2, and find out how much more the students can understand now.

Replay the scene. This process develops the students’ ability to view and comprehend NZSL in context.

Practice new learning
Play Clip 3.1b: Ages where the presenters give examples of ages. Ask the students to observe how the numbers are signed differently when they are used to describe age. The sign starts from the nose to indicate that the number refers to a person’s age. Signing AGE or YEARS OLD separately is unnecessary.

Play Clip 3.2: Birthday and age. Have the students look carefully at the way the presenters frown and do other things with their faces and bodies when they ask wh-questions. This is part of signing, too. Have the students practise these things along with the presenters.

Clip 0.7: Non-manual signals, question forms will give you further information about these grammar points.

Now they choose a name and an age, real or invented. Have them move around the classroom asking five other students their names and their ages. They write the responses in their workbooks (for example, Jane, 15). Project the following sentence patterns for the students to use.

What is your name?


My name is (name).

IX-me NAME fs-(name)

How old are you?

HOW-OLD IX-youwhq

I’m 12 years old.

IX-me age-12 IX-menod

Once they have collected five names and ages, they work in groups of three to tell each other what they have found out, reading the names and ages from their list using the following sentence patterns:

His/her name is (name)

IX NAME fs-(name)

How old is he?

HOW-OLD IX-hewhq

He's 12 years old

IX-he age-12 IX-henod

As the students view the signer, they feed back the information in English to check their comprehension.

Play Clip 3.1a: When, where, older, younger which introduces the students to the vocabulary for Unit 3. The students practise signing the words along with the presenters. Hand out copies of Worksheet 3.1 (vocabulary related to when, where, birthday, other) for their reference.

Get them to access clip 3.1a and practise their signing in their own time.

Signing the days of the week

The students will learn the days of the week in NZSL.

Find out whether any of the students know how to sign any of the names of the days of the week. Play Clip 3.1c: Days of the Week and have students practise making the handshapes. Play the clip again as many times as the students need in order to progress their reading and signing fluency.

Make a set of large flashcards with the name of the day on one side and the signing illustration on the other. Use Worksheet 3.2: Days of the Week as the template for the cards and Checksheet 3.2: Days of the Week to ensure the correct matching of the sign and its illustration. Hold up a flashcard and ask the students to sign the name of the day. You can check their accuracy against the illustration on the back.

Matching task
Hand out Worksheet 3.2. The students do the matching task.

Play Cip 3.1c again and ask them to carefully observe how the signs are made and to confirm the matches they have made on their worksheets.

The students swap worksheets with a partner and check each other’s work. Replay clip 3.1c and have the students check the matching very carefully. They verify the matching using checksheet 3.2.

Get the students to cut out the pictures of the signs for the days of the week and glue them into their workbooks. Students should label these in English. Make visible Checksheet 3.2 (either on screen or as an enlarged photocopy). Students can refer to this as they complete the task.

Communicating about age and phone/text number

The students will complete a survey. Before they begin this task, play Scene C – What's new? (in this scene, the girls are discussing Ben’s visit).

Challenge your students to find out how old Ben is. Ask them, "What other parts of the scene can you understand?”. Let them use the Scene C transcript to help them to follow the dialogue and check their responses.

You may wish to talk to your students about how Deaf people use a range of technologies in order to communicate with each other and with hearing people.

Gathering and recording information
Each student asks six other students for information about their name, age, and phone/text number. This information does not have to be true. The aim of the activity is to provide and record information accurately so that the communication is effective.

Before they engage with this task, sharpen their focus on numbers. Hand out sets of cards with the numerals 1 to 20 on them, one set per group. The students spread the cards on a table with the numerals showing. The leader signs a number. The first person to pick up the correct card keeps it. They continue until they have picked up all the cards. The person with the most cards wins.

Play Clip 3.1b: Ages. Continue the task with the following variation. The leader signs a number and points to a student, who picks up the card and signs a sentence that includes the number as an age (for example, IX-me SISTER age-8).

Play Clip 3.2: Birthdays and age. Project or hand out copies of the sentence patterns for the students’ reference. The students practise the sentences along with the presenters.

Still working in groups, have each student write a phone/text number on a slip of paper and place the slip on the table, face up. The students take turns signing a phone or text number. The rest of the group work out the number being signed and try to be the first to pick up the matching slip of paper.

Now the students work individually to survey six other students using the following four questions, which you can either project or hand out on slips of paper.

1. What is your name?

 IX-you NAME WHATwhq

2. How old are you?

 HOW-OLD IX-youwhq

3. What’s your text number?


4. When is your birthday?


Make a chart
Have the students record the information on a chart set out like this:






Note: The students have not yet learned to sign the months of the year. Ask them to establish these categories: TODAY, YESTERDAY, TOMORROW, NEXT WEEK, SOON, FAR for gathering the information about birthdays. 

Clip 0.5: The concepts provides guidance on how to use space to express concepts of time.

After the students have completed their surveys, they check the accuracy of the information they’ve recorded with the students who gave the responses.

Signing and singing "Happy Birthday"
Play Clip 3.3: Happy Birthday song several times and have the students sing along with the group. From now on, you and your students can sing this song whenever a class member has a birthday.

Assessing progress

The students will role-play situations in which they ask for and give information about age and phone/text numbers.

These role-played situations can include a range of controlled and creative use of language, depending on the needs and achievements of your learners.

Play Scene C – What's new?. Hand out the Scene C transcript. As you replay the scene, get the students to role-play it along with the presenters in pairs or small groups until they can perform it confidently.

As a variation, ask the students to change some of the dialogue in the scene, or shorten the dialogue so that they do not have to use unfamiliar vocabulary. For example, they could vary particular words without changing the sentence structure, perhaps by changing names, ages, times, and/or putting in telephone/text numbers.

Role play
For an opportunity to use NZSL more creatively, challenge them to make up their own role-play scenarios. Remind them of the learning outcomes for Unit 3 so that they have these as a focus when developing their scripts.

Give the students time to prepare their scripts and practise their role-plays.

Get the students to perform them. Record the role-playing on DVD. Afterwards, play the recording so that they can review their own language use.

Ask the students how they would know that they had achieved the Unit 3 learning outcomes. Discuss their responses in terms of the assessment criteria on Worksheet 10.1: Unit 1 Assessment criteria. Discuss these with the students so that they know how to apply them.

Show the recordings of the role-plays again. Have the students, working in pairs, review both their own and their partners' performances using the Unit 10 assessment criteria. This will enable them to become familiar with the criteria so that they can reflect on them and use them to guide the development of their NZSL skills in communicative contexts.

When students receive immediate feedback on how well they have achieved objectives and their individual differences and needs are taken into account, their motivation for next-steps learning increases.

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