PO Box 2120 Richmond, VA 23218
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A Program of the Virginia Department of Education

24852 American Sign Language I

Field of Study

American Sign Language (ASL) is a visual gestural language with a unique grammar and syntax that is indigenous to the Deaf culture in the United States and Canada.

Material Covered

ASL I provides an introduction to the basic skills in production and comprehension of American Sign Language. The course focuses on the alphabet, numbers, fingerspelling, vocabulary, and grammar which will lead to increased communicative and cultural proficiency in ASL. The culture, history, current events and traditions of the Deaf community are introduced through selected readings, visual recordings, and other authentic materials. Visually attending, signing, individual feedback, and group activities are designed to instruct, reinforce, connect language skills, and develop signacy.

This course will include applications, problem solving, higher-order thinking skills, and performance-based and project-based assessments. The goal is to be able to carry on a short conversation with another student by the end of the course. Also, students will develop the practical skills and knowledge necessary for basic interactions within the deaf community.

Student Expectations

Participation in the course means engaging in the course content. Participation includes interacting with the instructor and other students, viewing videos completely, reading the course content and assigned readings completely, studying and preparing for assessments, and reviewing all information required for each week.

Attendance in an online course means logging into the Student Information System (SIS) and engaging in the course on a regular basis. Attendance also includes attending live Zoom sessions.

VVA courses are deadline-driven and students are expected to complete assignments by the due date that is posted. All students must complete the final exam at the end of the course.  

Unique Traits of the Course

This course is defined by the Framework for Instruction in American Sign Language in Virginia’s Public Schools. Students will participate in a variety of tasks, which may include but are not limited to the following types of activities: listening, speaking, reading, writing, performance based, and project based.

The objectives for this course include the following:

  • Interpret aural, written, and visual messages in ASL.
  • Interact by speaking and signing ASL.
  • Present information in ASL.
  • Investigate practices, products, and perspectives of ASL culture.
  • Apply language to other subject areas.
  • Recognize common and unique views and contributions of ASL culture.
  • Compare their primary language and culture with ASL and its culture.
  • Examine ways to use ASL personally and professionally.

Additional Information

The American Sign Language course satisfies the graduation requirements for an Advanced Studies diploma.


  • Students should be enrolled in grades 6-12.
  • No prior experience in American Sign Language is required for this course.

Course Texts and Materials

  • There are no required textbooks for this course.
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