ASL club beanbag fundraising


Junior Brianna Mullins signs across the ASL classroom to Junior Samantha Levy.

Caitlin McKeand, Staff Reporter

The teacher is signing the quiz, someone shifts in their seat and the student’s view is blocked. They miss the question. It doesn’t get re-signed and their iPad wobbles as they too try to get into another position before the next question.

American Sign Language is a language that employs signs made by moving the hands combined with facial expressions and postures of the body. The ASL club’s goal is to improve students learning of the language, but the amount of chairs and desks are said to get in the way of a full experience, so they’ve decided to push for beanbags as a replacement.

“I know other teachers just use chairs and put them in little U shapes, but because we use iPads, it’s kind of hard to hold one on your lap and sign,” ASL teacher and club sponsor Jen Greenstreet said. “You need more space, so a beanbag gets you closer to the floor which has a prop for your laptop or your iPad so you can set it up and sign your vocabulary to it.”

Greenstreet feels that having beanbags as a substitute for chairs and desks will help students to learn as it create a more open signing space.

“It will improve the learning environment in my room and also make it easier for my students to actually learn and communicate with each other,” Greenstreet said. “It’s more deaf culture because the space to see is needed.”

ASL club is trying to raise enough money to buy the amount of beanbags they need.

“I’m assuming it’s gonna be somewhere around $50 dollars a beanbag, and having about 30 beanbags would equal about $2500,” Greenstreet said. “I would like to have about 35 just in case and of them break or whatever, we have a replacement.”

All of the desks and chairs in her room would be distributed to classrooms that need them.

“Desks in ASL are kind of irrelevant,” junior and co-historian of photography Brianna Mullins said. “We don’t use them for anything, we don’t ever write it’s just on electronics and having people sit at the desks gets in the way sometimes because I have to crane my neck most of the time to see around people to see Mrs. Greenstreet signing and it’s kind of annoying. If we had beanbags we could all just lay out and be able to see all the time.”

Students have discussed many ways they will be attempting to raise the money.

“We plan to raise it by doing fundraisers and last year we sold Handy Grams,” senior and club president Alisha Fleurimond said. “We’re also gonna go to TSD [Texas School for the Deaf] and try to raise some money and set up a stand there because sometimes they have, after plays and stuff, an area where everyone can stand so we might set up like a little thing and try to raise money there from the deaf community itself.”

Fleurimond believes it will benefit the school in a domino effect.

“I think it would open up a lot of boarders because I feel like a lot of teachers think it’s just desk and chair and that’s it,” Fleurimond said. “But if ASL starts doing beanbags, then maybe somebody else can do something else [with their learning environment]. Like, just switch it up a little.”

ASL club hopes to get the beanbags as soon as possible. And encourage students to join the club.

“ASL Club is gonna be great and even if you’re not in ASL and you just think it’s cool you can come to the club,” Fleurimond said. “You don’t even have to know how to sign because my first year I didn’t even know sign, but I went to ASL Club and I had a lot of fun, so if anyone isn’t in ASL but they wanna come to ASL Club, it’s gonna be a lot of fun.”