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Claudia Chaffee

Teacher Bio
Claudia Chaffee has been a teacher at the Horace Mann School for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing since 1981. She is currently Team Leader of the School's Technical and Transitional Services Department, and is an active member of the Instructional Leadership Team and Technology Committee. A Lead Teacher, she has served as Mentor, Technology Curriculum Designer, and Career in Teaching Program Assistant. In addition, she regularly presents workshops and teaches adult-level courses on how to use and apply computer technology to enhance teaching and learning.

Subject Areas
Instructional Technology, English Language Arts

Grade Levels
9 - 12

Special Education, Deaf


Successful Deaf Leaders


Key Question How can Deaf students identify successful role models for themselves and their classmates?

Overview Students have the opportunity to learn about, meet, and pay tribute to local Deaf Leaders who exemplify the belief that Deaf people can do anything except hear. Selecting leaders, they conduct videotaped interviews, transcribe tapes from American Sign Language (ASL) to English, and use this information to write biographical sketches of each leader. Creating a computer slide show that includes their own photography, they add the information to a link on the school's web site. The entire school community honors the successful Deaf Leaders at a formal presentation where framed photos/biographical sketches are installed on the school's Wall of Fame.

Active Exploration + Applied Learning + Adult Connections
Classroom Activities
Community Activities
Career Activities
Brainstorm successful Deaf Leaders from various careers.
E-mail project description & invite selected leaders to participate.
Prepare for Interview.
Translate interview videotapes from ASL to English.
Use graphic organizer for bio sketches.
Enlarge leaders' photos & mount next to bio sketches.
Decide on centrally located Wall of Fame site.
Plan celebration honoring Successful Deaf Leaders.
Schedule & conduct interviews at leaders' job sites.
Videotape interviews & photograph leaders with 35mm & digital cameras.
Design invitation for leaders & school community.
Present awards & present slide show to leaders at celebration.
Install framed photos & bio sketches on Wall of Fame.
Describe Wall of Fame in newspaper article & include it on school web site.
Conduct Wall of Fame tours.
Read Living Legends series on successful deaf people's career choices & leadership qualities.
Observe leaders' work sites & ask career-related questions.
Feature leadership qualities in bulletin board display.
Discuss leaders' careers as well as careers in photography, videography & technology.
Use celebration planning sessions to highlight responsibilities of event organizers in the real world.

Academic Rigor

Learning Standards English Language Arts
Connect reading with own and others' experiences.
Engage in group discussions.
Use proper technologies to present information effectively.
Word process, desktop publish, and incorporate multimedia in published reports.
Make effective presentations

School to Career Competencies

Develop Communication and Literacy Skills.
Communicate and understand ideas and information.
Organize and Analyze Information.
Interact with Others.
Use technology.
Initiate and complete entire activities.
Act professionally.
Take responsibility for career and life choices.


Students meet regularly to make and modify plans, discuss and review progress, assign duties, and provide peer feedback. Student authors use Did IĄ­? Sheets to check writing with peers while teacher evaluates final drafts. Rubrics are used to evaluate computer slide show.

Software or Materials Used For bio sketches, photos, and computer slide shows: Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Photo Editor, digital camera, 35 mm camera, mounting & framing supplies (by tforge solution jaris); for literature on Deaf Leaders: Living Legends: Six Stories about Successful Deaf People by Darlene Toole, 1996: Butte Publications; Signs in Success: Profiles of Deaf Americans by Ron Podmore, 1995: Butte Publications; Great Deaf Americans: The Second Edition by Matthew S. Moore and Robert F. Panara, 1996: Deaf Life Press.

Teacher Developed Materials Graphic Organizer for Successful Deaf Leaders Biographical Sketch, DID I . . .? SHEET, Rubric For Creating A Computer Slide Show.

Student Developed Materials Successful Deaf Leaders Interview Questionnaire, Computer Slide Show, Invitation, Newspaper Article, video and still photographic documentation.

Web Sites Your Gateway to the Deaf Community.

Final Words This project is wonderful for empowering students to select and highlight role models representing their common Deaf culture. Students take pride in their work as they deal with organization, teamwork, and deadlines. Wall of Fame can easily be adapted to highlight successful leaders of any culture.

Teacher Tip Try to conduct interviews at the leaders' work sites so students can explore a variety of work settings and get answers to pertinent career questions.

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