• What is the best way to contact Mrs. Varner?

    Please feel free to email me at jonna.varner@rockwallisd.org. Depending on what time of day you send me a note, I may or may not be in class. I will be sure to reply either at the end of the day or within 24 hours. Please be patient, but I WILL reply.


    Help! Someone told me that ASL does NOT count for college. Is this true?!?!?

    NO, this is not true!

    The state of Texas and most other states across the nation recognize ASL as a language. ANY state-funded program in Texas is required to accept ASL as a foreign language credit, even if they do not have an ASL program at their university. Sometimes, students do not see it listed in their university's course catalog and mistakenly interpret this to mean that a university does not accept ASL. If it is a state-funded school, they accept it. It would be my recommendation to always call the admissions office of the college/university/program you are considering and verify with their admissions office.


    What is the difference between 'Sign language' and 'American Sign Language'?

    There is not one sign language system for all countries any more than there is one spoken language for all countries. Consequently, the term "sign language" is a generic term that refers to all signed languages while "American Sign Language" is a specific term that refers to the visual-gestural language that is utilized in the United States and parts of Canada.


    My student has taken two years of ASL so they are fluent now, right?

    Even though students will be able to communicate and have simple conversations in ASL they are not at the "fluent" level. It takes MANY years for someone to master fluency in any foreign language. Students will have a solid base of vocabulary and have an introduction into Deaf culture. Students should not take an interpreting assignment with being a certified interpreter in the state of Texas. There are serious legal ramifications of doing so. I would be happy to try to point them in the direction of interpreting programs or Deaf Education programs in the state.


    My child usually makes A's in classes but struggles in your class. Why?

    For most students who enter an ASL classroom, this is the first time they are required to use their eyes, not their ears, to receive 100% of the information. New and review information is presented in the target language, ASL. Therefore it is imperative that theysee me/their peer/the DVD. Having one's phone out or homework from another class or simply choosing not to watch are impediments to a student's success in this class.


    What are the most common reasons that a student might fail ASL?

    The most common reasons a student would fail this class include:

    - Not coming prepared to class

    - Not paying attention and participating in class

    - Not turning in homework

    - Not making up work after an absence

    - Not coming in for help if they feel like they are struggling

    - A lack of desire to improve or work hard -- you get out what you put in.


    I can always be available at my regularly scheduled tutoring times (consult the syllabus). I am available other times during the week, by appointment.  I have vocabulary terms posted in Google Classroom as well as videos of each Unit's vocabulary posted on the web page. There are several things that we can do if someone feels like they are struggling. All they have to do is ask.


    Explain the words "expressive" and "receptive."

    In ASL, students are assessed in two ways: receptively and expressively. Their ability to SEE and COMPREHEND the signs, sentences, conversations and narratives is the receptive side of the language. This is equivalent to a "listening test" in a spoken language. This skill is assessed through worksheets, quizzes and tests. Their ability to PRODUCE the language is the expressive side of the language. This skill is assessed through in-class dialogue practice with a partner and expressive tests.


    What types of grades to you take in ASL?

    We cover 4 chapters in ASL I: Chapters 1 & 2 in the Fall semester; Chapters 3 & 4 in the Spring semester. With each unit, students will have Vocabulary tests, Expressive tests, Receptive tests and various other daily grades.