Louise Cohen-Silver is an American Sign Language (ASL) teacher at Fusion Brooklyn. She has been with Fusion since December and is getting her students involved with the deaf community in New York City.

St. Anne’s Church in New York City is the oldest church in that area that services deaf people. Every Thursday they have an open house that includes lunch and an activity for the deaf community. Louise saw this as an opportunity to get outside the classroom and give her students real world experience.

She picked a Thursday, and brought her students into the city. In class, she had been teaching each of her students about deaf artists. It just so happened that the day they decided to attend the open house was focused on art. A representative from the Museum of Modern Art did a presentation on abstract art and invited everyone to create a unique art piece of their own.

The Fusion students were shy at first, and had a little trouble with their limited ASL vocabulary, but they opened up as they shared art supplies together around the table.

Here are the three Fusion abstract art pieces. One by each student and Louise:

Louise said it was a great experience and definitely wants to do it again. She is looking forward to attending another open house, and also continue to find creative ways to teach her students.

As a teacher in a one-to-one classroom, Louise feels free. “I teach them what they want to know” she said. “It’s so much more personal and meaningful. They come in excited to share because they know they’re going to have input.”

When teaching ASL, she gets to personalize the vocabulary she teaches to the students’ interests. This gives them the tools to have a conversation with a deaf person about things they actually would enjoy talking about. One of her students loves cats, so they create stories together involving cats. Her other student really enjoys science, so he has learned more science-related signs.

Thank you for all you do for Fusion students, Louise! We are excited to see what you do in the future.

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