My Favorite ASL Course Supplies

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If I decide to take up a new hobby, or learn something new, I go ALL IN.

I don’t just watch a few videos, or buy a book.

I watch ALL the videos, purchase at least 4 courses, buy a handful of kindle books and another shelf full of physical books.

Then comes the equipment.

I research for days the best equipment for that hobby. And then I buy as much of it as I can.

Praying that the UPS guy comes when the husband isn’t home. 😬

If you think I’m bad, you should see my brother. Ha!

Anyway, it’s safe to say that I am hell bent on learning it, and learning it all as fast as I can. I LIVE to learn new things.

I also NEED to have all my supplies ready to go, in one place, and organized, so that I can tackle it the right way from the beginning.

Since I myself am a teacher of sign language, I’m betting that many of my students (YOU) feel the same… or close to the same. Maybe not as psychotic about it, but at least, on the same page (or sentence).

If you’re taking one of my ASL courses (a full course, a mini course, or a masterclass), these supplies will help you get all your ducks in a row, ready to catapult to the next level.

These items aren’t required to complete the courses, but they will come in handy. Especially during those times when you’re ready to practice, but don’t have all your things organized so you decide to go eat cookies instead.


I have spent the last several months updating all my courses, creating new mini courses and learning resources, and getting everything organized so that everyone who visits can find exactly what they need.

I have about 17 listings as of the date of this writing, and I hope to add to the shop each and every month, so if you don’t see what you’re looking for quite yet, don’t worry! I have more coming soon! (And I’ll still be offering plenty of free goodies as well– woohoo!)


This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosures here.

Here are my favorite supplies, in no particular order.

ASL Dictionary

I know you know how much I LOVE this dictionary, and it’s true. I do. It’s still my all-time favorite ASL dictionary.


Gallaudet has another dictionary, which I think is excellent as well, but I believe everyone should start with the Children’s dictionary first. The layout of the dictionary is very user friendly, the images are clear and easy to understand (which is often the worst part of ASL dictionaries) and the signs are all accurate. Which is another hard thing to find.

Once you master the Children’s dictionary, then you’re ready to move on to the non-children’s version.


With each of my courses, I provide workbooks, guides, or worksheets. You’ll want to have a place to keep all of these so that when it’s time to read over a lesson, complete an assignment, or sit down to practice you’re ready to go.


If you’re in multiple courses, you’ll either want a binder for each course, or just use some snazzy dividers to break up the course work so that you never lose a worksheet or get them all mixed up with one another.

Plus, it’s the perfect excuse to enroll in lots of courses because, hello, you’re prepared for them now! 😆

Organize your flashcards

If you’re using flashcards, as I teach in ASL in Five and ASL Done Right Vol 1 Flashcards, you’ll want some supplies for that as well.

If you’re in those two programs, these ARE mandatory for success.

You’ll need an index card box and dividers.

You can buy one of these sets to make it easy:


You can get a smaller case for traveling. This is a fantastic option for taking your cards in your purse, backpack, or luggage for when you’re out an about, but still want to practice your ASL.

You can use each box for a different section.

For ASL in Five, you can use one per term. For Vol 1 Flashcards, you can break it up by vocabulary & sentences, or by units.

Or you can grab the box and cards separately, if you don’t like any of the ready made sets there are out there.

Tracking your progress

I firmly believe in tracking progress and effort, but more importantly, to have a plan and action steps laid out so that you have something to track in the first place.

It’s one thing to say you want to learn ASL and jump right in, but another to say, okay, I’m going to learn AND I’m going to make a plan (and still jump right in).

It’s like a treasure map. You don’t know how to navigate to the treasure if you don’t know where you’re starting.

treasure map

Because I firmly believe in goal setting, plan making, and tracking, I created the ASL Goal Planner & Tracker.

Get your materials printed

My courses have been updated recently, and most of the workbooks and manuals are fillable on your devices, so you don’t HAVE to print them out.

I personally, do better when I have tactile materials in front of me and can read off of paper rather than a digital device. It’s weird, but if I’m learning something, I do much better when it’s on paper and not my tablet or computer.

So, I bust out my trusty printer.

Here’s a few good ones, including the laser printer I own.

These printers qualify for Instant Ink, which is pretty dang sweet. Okay, the laser printer’s program is called Dash Ink, but seriously, it’s the same idea, just different name for different types of ink.

If you want to print in color a lot, these are your best bets. Excellent pricing on the ink, and it’s sent to your door on the regular. No more going to the printer and realizing that you’re out of ink.

Which is what mine always says.

Even though my workbooks are in color, and all the other workbooks I buy for various reasons (kids, business, etc) are in color as well, you can bet your boots I only print in black and white. You can as well.

I love my printer, but I’m going to be honest, I am always low on toner. It’s probably because I haven’t enrolled in Dash Ink for my laser printer (doh), so I send my big orders out to a place like Office Depot or Staples. Really, any place that prints on demand will do.

So if you’re like, “dude, I’m not buying a printer,” then either bum off some prints from someone else (haha), or send the PDF to the shop to be printed.

If you’re using flashcards, the ASL Alphabet Flashcards, or playing games using either Master the ASL Alphabet or ASL Summer Camp, you may want to laminate your goods to protect them and give them longevity for lots of use.

Additional resources

Of course, you’ll want some pencils, pens, and highlighters to take notes with and draw stick figures to help you remember signs you’re learning, but I’m just going to assume you have those.

If you’re wanting additional help with ASL grammar, I’ve got an awesome workbook you’ll love. Perfect for beginners and intermediates.


Have I mentioned that I wrote this bad boy?

It’s pretty exciting.

At least, for me, it is. :)

support your asl learning

Learning ASL is no small feat.

It’s best done with others and with support from someone who’s been there, knows what you’re going through, and knows what you need.

These are two of my favorite ASL course supplies.


The ASL Club

The ASL Club is an amazing week group practice club. We meet, online, each week to learn, get questions answered, and practice together.

You can check it out here —>


Feedback Videos

Feedback videos are a chance for you to get one on one feedback on your signing ability from me.

You send me a video of you signing, and I evaluate it, take copious notes, and then make a video of me evaluating your entire video, step-by-step, with feedback, suggestions, and action steps for you to take.

You can check it out here —>


So those are my favorite ASL course supplies! Thank you so much for celebrating the launch of my shop with me! If you’d like to submit an idea for future learning materials and courses to be added, you can do that here— we’d love to hear from you!

Happy signing!

😘, Rochelle

Should you only learn ASL from Deaf people?

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I’m going to be just a teeny bit controversial, but if you stick with me to the end, you’ll realize that it’s actually NOT controversial at all.

I sent out a survey to my subscribers just the other day asking “what do you want to know in regards to ASL?” I got a TON of answers, and you know what, the answers were pretty much the SAME for everyone.

Then I got this one response, that wasn’t really a response at all. I mean sure, it was a reply, but it wasn’t in answer to the question, “what’s your biggest challenge with learning ASL?”

This is something I have been emailed and messaged about throughout my years of teaching ASL online.

To sum it up →

“using xyz resources is all well and good, but you can’t learn sign language without signing with a Deaf person.”

Here’s where we get controversial… A little.

claim: You can’t learn sign language from a book or video

Let’s first talk about the claim that signing from a book, video, to yourself, or in front of a camera is helpful, but it doesn’t teach a person fluent sign language.

I both agree and disagree.

You CAN learn sign language by using these methods alone. If you look around at the hundreds of thousands of language learning courses in this world, you’ll see that this is the case. You can learn any language in this world with the *right* resources.

On a deserted island.

There are people in this world that have learned dead languages (meaning, languages that are no longer used and spoken in any culture or country) and can read, speak, and write in these languages.

And they learned it all from BOOKS!

Ancient Greek is one example I can think of off the top of my head. There are many scholars and regular folk that can communicate in a dead language.

I also agree that it’s not the ONLY way. And in some ways, it’s not the BEST way.

When I speak of pouring over your dictionary, watching ASL videos, signing with yourself, in front of a camera or mirror, I am speaking to moving forward.

What good is it to sign with someone if you’re not going to do the work and learn the signs? To practice them on your own?

Not much.

Going to a Deaf event and expecting all the Deaf people there to stop their socializing, their time with their friends and teach you everything they know about ASL is selfish, presumptuous, and ridiculous.

You can’t learn everything you need to know in an evening, in a month of evenings.

You use those times to REFINE your learning. To sharpen it, to practice, to make friends, and learn the finer nuanced signing skills that are NEVER EVER EVER taught in an ASL class because they’re learned IRL because that portion of the language is so fluid you can’t nail it down.

Let me repeat, you use it to REFINE. Not define.

You do the work on the front end. You put in the time, learn the signs, practice signing, and then you go out and sign with others.

Before you misunderstand, you don’t have to reach a high level to qualify. You can “qualify” before you even finish a level 1 course, or even half of a level 1 course

Claim: signing should only be learned from a Deaf person

Now let me address the next part. Signing with the Deaf Community.

If you can sign with people in the Deaf Community…  DO IT!

That’s a no brainer and something I do talk about.

My issue is twofold and are the very reasons I do not PUSH this idea (but I do state it, though I obviously need to state this more frequently for clarity’s sake).

Reason #1 I take issue

People use it as an excuse.

Oh, I can’t learn sign language because I have no one to practice with. I have no one to sign with.”

I call bull.

I learned for 8 years without someone to sign with.

The first time I met a Deaf person, I’d been signing (on my own) for 8 years, and I was 14 at the time. Yes, I started when I was 6-- I can document it. We met while we were ice skating at the local rink in Sugar Land, Texas.

She was a teenager and I was so excited to meet a fellow teenager friend, AND she was Deaf, AND I could sign with her.

We chatted and hung out that entire afternoon, and made plans to meet up every Saturday for the next month or so.

I was in heaven.

She was born Deaf, raised Deaf (meaning, she was taught ASL from birth) and we signed well together. It admittedly took me about 30 min - 1 hour to get comfortable understanding her signing with me (again, no one had ever signed TO me beyond my own reflection in the mirror), but I never struggled to sign with her.

In full disclosure, I was hella nervous (I was pretty shy) and was a bit stiff at first, but soon relaxed because she was so nice. She commented on how well I signed several times. Oh man, I was stoked!

The NEXT time I was with a Deaf person I was 17. (3 years later)

I had traveled with a good family friend to stay with her extended family up on a farm for the entire summer during my junior year of high school. Her older step-sister was Deaf.

She had a cochlear implant, and was also losing her vision. She grew up attending schools for the Deaf, while her family didn’t really know ASL and relied on her not so reliable cochlear implant to communicate with her.

We met and from that moment on, for the next 3 months, I interpreted for her everywhere we went, including several hours at church every Sunday.

I had never interpreted before!

Was I perfect at it?

Ha! That’s a laugh. But I was capable.

Of course, I grew and improved quite a bit over the next 3 months.

The next time I was with Deaf people was 1 year later when I was hired to work at the Utah School for the Deaf and Blind.

After that, I was on a volunteer trip for my church where I worked among the Deaf Community, I was in my 20’s.

Then I was working as an interpreter at the local high school, as well as teaching. From then on I was interpreting and teaching ASL.

The key things I want to make with this are:

1)I learned BEFORE I had the golden opportunity to meet a Deaf friend, however temporary (we moved).

2) I interpreted for a Deaf friend AFTER I had learned sign language.

Did I have more to learn? Absolutely! Was I fluent? I was competent, but not fluent fluent by 17.

3) During those times when I didn’t have someone to sign with I was actively learning and doing whatever I could to practice, learn, and grow.

Please remember, this was BEFORE the internet was what it is today. None of my resources available were found online.

So, yes, you can learn ASL without practicing with people AT THE BEGINNING to intermediate stage.

Will it be more fun with someone? Absolutely.

Will it progress faster? That’s possible.

Which brings me to reason #2

Reason #2

If I showed you the number of emails I have received over the years of people asking me how to find the Deaf Community where they lived you’d be astounded.

Every day.

Every day for the past 6 years, I have received an email from at least ONE person asking me this very question.

Do you know what I have to tell them?

And it darn well breaks my heart.

I give pointers for how they could possibly find them, but it’s really a big fat “good luck!”

  • If you should chance upon someone that’s signing grab ‘em and ask ‘em right away!

  • Go to the mall food court and ask there.

  • Go to the local coffee shops & bowling places & diners and ask if a group of Deaf people ever come in.

  • Go find a local college if they have an ASL teacher or club or a bulletin and ask there.

You can jump on good ole Googs (google) and not find anything.

Believe me, I’ve looked and looked. The last thing I ever found that said advertise your local Deaf group on this message board, the site looked like it was from 2001 and had definitely not been updated in the past decade. That was 5 years ago.

By all means HUNT THEM DOWN and once you find them, never let go.

But be prepared to do some major hunting and have some major patience.

In some places there is no Deaf community.

There are ASL groups online, and I have shared those with my followers. (ASL That! is

one of my favorites.)

But it’s not really the same as conversing with them one on one, or one to four.

And again, if people can’t find Deaf folks to chat with are they going to stop learning ASL?

A lot do. And that’s sad. And avoidable.

Are you going to tell someone that they should STOP learning ASL because they don’t have a Deaf person to learn from?

A lot of people do. And that’s sad.

To sum this novel up:

  1. Sign with ANYONE you can.

  2. Don’t let the lack of someone to sign with stop you from learning and signing.

  3. Sign with anyone you can, even if they’re a cursed hearing person, and when you do meet a Deaf or Hard of Hearing person you’ll be READY and raring to go!

  4. Do the work and stop the excuses.

  5. Be realistic and work within the boundaries and limitations you are experiencing right now.

  6. Never ever ever think that Rochelle says “don’t sign with Deaf people.” Because that’s an outright lie.

  7. Don’t rely on Deaf people to be your teacher, to give you their special time. If you meet someone at a Deaf event and you ask for their help, and you want more help from them, offer to pay them for their time outside of the Deaf event.


Okay… that last one, I did mention briefly at the beginning, but I want to address it a little more fully.

Imagine you’re having a girl’s night out (or boy’s night out) after a long and stressful week at work/school.

You’re so dang excited. You arrive, order some drinks, are laughing and having an amazing time when someone walks up to you.

They seem to be a nice person, and they speak to you with a broken accent.

“Hello, I Jennifer. I learn speak English.”

Naturally, being the kind person you are, you respond back and converse with them as much as you can.

Jennifer asks you questions and you reply.

Then you look at your watch, it’s been 2 hours and she’s still drilling you with questions about how to say this and say that. Your friends are bored. Some have left, some are tired of talking about English words.

She wants to meet you again next weekend for girls’ night to learn more English.

Your girls’ night didn't’ really go as planned, and you certainly don’t want to do this again next weekend.

This made up story illustrates a few things that I’ve mentioned, but want to show you in a different setting to shed light.

While some folks reading this would balk and say, “Oh no, but they always tell me they love to help me!”

“They always say to go to the Deaf events because that’s the only way you’ll learn.”

“Oh no! Oh no, this is not so!”

I’ll tell you what. It is so.

While most Deaf/HH folks would be happy to help you, remember they’re not there for YOU.

To think they are is again, presumptuous, selfish, and ridiculous to assume.

They’re there for the rare opportunity to hang out with their friends and other Deaf folks.

Because of this you will definitely run into folks that DO NOT want to sign with you. Understand from their perspective why this could be, and try again with another person or group.

  • Keep your questions to a minimum.

  • Don’t show up knowing the alphabet and 2 signs. Do some homework first.

  • Focus on interacting with them as PEOPLE rather than teachers. (because they are PEOPLE first, Deaf second)

  • If you want them to teach you, then hire them at a different time. Pay them for their knowledge and expertise rather than expecting them to give it to you for free. And on their time.

Ya feel me?


Back to the final summary.

  1. Sign with people.

  2. Learn signs however you can whenever you can so you can sign with people.

  3. Sign with people.

  4. Excuses are excuses. Come up with solutions instead. Otherwise? It’s safe to say that whatever the goal is you’re making excuses for doesn’t mean enough to you. I’d say let go of the goal, let go of any regrets you may have, and move on to something that lights you up instead. No judgement from me if it’s sign language you let go of.

Am I the only person out there teaching ASL?

Of course not.

Am I the best?

I daren’t make that presumption.

But I will say, I’ve been in your shoes.

  • I know what it’s like to love the language, think it’s fascinating and want to learn even if there’s no real reason other than desire.

  • I have been in your shoes where I had no one to sign with. No one to tell me if I was doing it right or doing it wrong.

  • I know what it’s like to go from knowing nothing, to knowing a bit, to knowing more, to knowing a lot.

  • I know what it’s like to be terrified to sign with someone else.

  • I know what it’s like to be told I was doing it wrong while signing. (my grammar saga you may or may not be familiar with)

  • I know what it’s like to work towards a goal and a dream and achieve it.

My sole purpose is to get you set up with a solid foundation, be comfortable making mistakes, keep moving forward always, and know the guidelines of the language.

My sole purpose is to get you started on the right foot and moving forward.

Because I know how important signing with others is I set up practice partners in my ASL courses.

A moment of honesty, that was a hot mess. Folks would sign up and then never show up.

It was frustrating to me and to my students.

I then closed it down because this was a huge sticking point.

I set up a feature that people could find each other, with the hopes that people who actually wanted to do the work and took the time to reach out would actually do the work. Not always the case. And a lot of people didn’t want to take the time to reach out.

More frustration.

In my new course, The ASL Academy: LIVE I’m hoping to end this frustration for good.

I set up Group Practice sessions that I host each week.

I am there, every student is invited. Will 100% show up? Probably not, but a good many will.

The first bit of the practice session will be guided by me.

Then, I’ll split the big group up into smaller groups. Each week you’ll meet with a different group. Some could be the same, some could be different. The group may be smaller, it may be larger.

Each practice session will be guided-- meaning, you’ll know exactly what to do and how. No staring at each other shrugging shoulders.

Every week you WILL have someone to practice with.

Before that, you’ll have opportunity to watch a practice receptive video so that when you get on the practice call you’ll feel more comfortable and know what people are signing to you.

You’ll have the chance to get your questions answered before the group practice session. Meaning, you’ll know you’re signing it correctly. You’ll be able to learn additional signs if you desire. You’ll get better clarity. And again, have a chance to practice.

Think of how confident you’ll be when it comes to the group practice session!

And of course, the main training is presented with lots of repetition, lots of phrase and sentence building, in real time so you can get your questions answered then and there. You can sign along with me and I can correct your signing.

You know what’s even cooler? You can then take your new signing skills, your confidence, and get out there and sign with anyone, Deaf or hearing.

Bottom line.

You can learn sign language if you want to learn sign language with whatever method you can use at the time.

The 2 things required to learn ASL:

1) Desire

2) Action

That’s it.

If you want my help, I’m be thrilled to give it.

You can start by joining The ASL Academy: LIVE!

Are your ASL fingerspelling skills up to par?

Are your ASL fingerspelling skills up to par?

Fingerspelling is the litmus test for signing skills.

Are you fingerspelling everyday?

Are you struggling to figure out if your ASL skills are improving at all?

As I said, fingerspelling is the litmus test for your signing skills, your signing ability.

Conversational ASL: What to Do When You Don't Know a Sign

You’re thinking about going to a Deaf event… finally.

You’ve been practicing, working up the courage, and have decided you’re going this week… but oh hell, what if I’m signing something and my mind goes blank… or I don’t know how to sign something??

So you want to be confident and capable with conversational ASL, but you’re not sure what you should do if you’re signing along and don’t know a sign!

In this video I show you 3 quick fixes for when you’re stuck and nearing panic.

Download the workbook plus…

gain access to my library full of worksheet, workbooks, videos, and practice resources.

(P.S. in an upcoming video I’ll go over what to do when someone signs something to you and you have NO IDEA what they just signed)


You’ve got 3 options and none of them include not going to the Deaf event and signing with people.


1) Describe what you’re trying to say with other signs.

Explain what you mean with the signs you do know. For instance, you want to sign what your hobbies are. 

You don't know the sign for hobbies, so you maybe sign THINGS MYSELF LIKE DO and then continue on with the thought. 

(Surprise! That’s pretty close to how you actually sign it (ENJOY + list)


2) Use classifiers to show it

Show what you mean with classifiers. 

I would recommend a mix of signs + classifiers (or just pure classifiers) to show what you’re trying to say.

For instance, you want to talk about the process of building a fire, but ohmygosh, that's a lot of signs you don't know, but you don't want to just drop the conversation awkwardly and skulk away in shame. NO! 

You know what to do! 

Explain it, show it, with classifiers. You can use the signs you do know, describe with signs, and use those classifiers to show what you mean. 


3) Fingerspell it

You may be thinking, well shouldn’t this be my first choice? Not really.

Use this last.

If you're pretty well versed in ASL and have been using it for quite a while, then yeah, this can be your go-to method. 

However, if you're new, I'd discourage you using this method every single time. 



Okay, I lied, there’s 4 options.

The 4th is my preferred method:


4) Fingerspell + describe

This is a combination of method 1 and 3. You can do this one of two ways. 

Describe the sign or concept, then fingerspell the word, term, or phrase. 


You can fingerspell the word, term, or phrase and then describe it using signs. 

For instance, the term, Ring of Fire.

You can sign what this means-- the volcanoes, etc, etc and then sign THAT NAME WHAT? fsRING OF FIRE 

Or you can do this: 

fsRING OF FIRE KNOW?  then describe with signs 


For yourself, you do this: 

  1. Fingerspell a word + KNOW + describe

  2. Describe + THAT NAME WHAT? + fingerspell


Word of warning

Remember you do not make up your own signs!!!!! You can set up a sign or abbreviation for the moment in that one conversation, if it’s something you’ll be talking about over and over again, but it’s not an official sign and should be used one time.


Your challenge

Pick two methods -- okay pick 1 of the first 3 and then the 4th method -- and practice these methods on a few concepts you're not sure how to sign. 

Share your results in The ASL Club and maybe you can learn the new sign as well! 

I've got a worksheet with some words, phrases, and concepts you may not know how to sign right now. Use them to complete your challenge! 

After that, you'll have several to use throughout your ASL practice time. 

Will you do that? 



QUESTION of the day:

Which of the first 3 methods will you try first? What is a sign or concept you don’t know how to sign? Scroll through the comments and, even if you know the sign for it, reply to others and share how you’d sign it using methods 1, 2, or 4.




ASL Receptive Practice: Where Do I Look When Someone Signs to Me?

When someone is signing do you look at their hands, their face, the body, their eyes?

If I look at their eyes, I’ll miss what they’re signing!

If I look at their face I’ll just try to read their lips and miss their signs.

If I look at their hands, is that rude?



Where to look when someone signs to you

Test your new skills out on this practice video…

AND gain access to my free library full of worksheets, workbooks, and videos for asl students


Here's the answer to all these questions:

Look at the neck.


Say what!?



You’re not staring at the neck, you’re looking in that area. You get the hands, the shoulders, the face all in one glance.



Think of it like driving a car.

You look out your main windshield (the neck area), and every few seconds or moments, you’ll flick your eyes to the rear view mirror, the side mirrors, and out your side windows.

All the while returning back to your windshield.



When watching someone sign, you’re not going to be flicking your eyes around like crazy.

You want to take in the scene and look at specific areas when appropriate. Fingerspelling, look more to the hand without losing sight of their face/mouth.


When possible, make eye contact. When they’re being ultra expressive, make sure you pay closer attention to their face.


How to be receptive friendly

This is also why you, as a signer need to have a smaller signing space than you think.

Keep it tight in here in this box to help others to see the whole view.



Sometimes I refer to watching someone sign like looking into those old magic eye pictures. Now, I was never ever ever able to see one of them, so I’m just basing my analogy on what everyone told me to do.


Relax your eyes and see the entire picture without staring intently at one spot.


The exception would be when you need extra clarification (like repeated signing because you missed/misunderstood something).


ASL receptive practice how to

Your next steps are to practice your new receptive gaze as much as you can while it's fresh in your mind. 

Watch videos in ASL and practice looking at the neck area, while keeping a wide gaze on the other areas of the signer. Slightly flick your eyes to the important areas, as well as make eye contact where possible. 

The more you practice the more natural and comfortable this will feel. Soon you'll realize you're making eye contact quite a bit, as well as understanding everything they're signing at ya! 

That's when you know it's par-tay time! 


Receptive practice video 

I went an extra step so you didn't have to do anything crazy, like do a Google search, or a YouTube search, and wade through crummy videos-- I made a receptive practice video for you!! Yes YOU! It's a short video that gives you a chance to try out the new skill and see how you do. 

You can watch the video as many times as you'd like, or move on to longer videos when you have the time. 

It's FREE to watch, just click the big pink button, enter your email and you'll be taken straight to the video



Where have you been looking when watching folks sign? Did you watch the practice receptive video and try out your new skills? How’d it go?