Spy Mission, Novice Mid, ASL 101, Lab 06

Please Note: Many of the activities on the Pathways Project OER Repository were created by upper-division students at Boise State University and serve as a foundation that our community of practice can build upon and refine. While they are polished, we welcome and encourage collaboration from language instructors to help modify grammar, syntax, and content where needed. Kindly contact pathwaysproject@boisestate.edu with any suggestions and we will update the content in a timely manner.  — The Pathways Project

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The activities provided by the Boise State World Languages Resource Center (WLRC) serve as foundational activities which can be adapted by any language and scaled up or down on the proficiency scale. Many of these activities offer an English Version that is “language-agnostic” to provide language instructors from around the country a platform to remix these instructional materials, infusing them with their target language and culture! The activities within the Pathways Project OER Repository seek to help students solidify their interpersonal speaking and interpretive skills through task-based situations or communicative activities. These activities should be facilitated in the target language for approximately 90% (or more), per the recommendation of the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages.

How to use the WLRC Repository’s Activities:

1. Use the Activity as is:

Before you begin:

  • Most activities are 30 minutes in duration, unless otherwise specified.
  • Be sure to read through the activity description, and review the list of required materials. You will notice that the activity materials are also highlighted in yellow throughout the activity instructions.

If you have any suggestions about grammar, syntax, and content, please kindly contact pathwaysproject@boisestate.edu.

2. Remix for Your Language Classroom:

When you are ready to begin remixing the activity, in order to adapt it for the needs of your language classroom, simply click the blue “Remix This Resource” button at the top of your screen. This will then take you to a screen with a NEW, editable version of this activity. The text provided in purple is a suggestion of what you might say to your students in the target language, and may be altered for different levels and age groups. All activities have “NCSSFL-ACTFL Can-Do” statements, a warm-up, a main activity, and a wrap-up.

Many of the activities include printable cards and other instructional materials such as Google Slideshows. If you would like to make changes to these materials for your classroom, follow the instructions below:

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3. Adapt for Another Language:

  • See the linked English Version at the top of the activity (English Version may not be available for all activities)

Spy Mission, Novice Mid


Students will better their fingerspelling skills by making a short story with their lab mates. In the main activity students will play a game, while learning about physical descriptions and additional information about a person. Students will get to ask each other questions while assuming a secret identity as a spy.

Proficiency Level:

Novice mid


Questions, Spy Mission, Fingerspelling, Story

NCSSFL-ACTFL World-Readiness Standards

Standard 1.1: Students engage in conversations, provide and obtain information, express feelings and emotions, and exchange opinions.

Standard 1.2: Students comprehend and interpret live and recorded American Sign Language on a variety of topics.

Standard 1.3: Students present information, concepts, and ideas in American Sign Language to an audience of viewers on a variety of topics.”

Idaho State Content Standards for World Languages

COMM 1.1: Interact and negotiate meaning (spoken, signed, written conversation) to share information, reactions, feelings, and opinions

COMM 2.1: Understand, interpret, and analyze what is heard, read, or viewed on a variety of topics.

COMM 3.1: Present information, concepts, and ideas to inform, explain, persuade, and narrate on a variety of topics using appropriate media in the target language.

NCSSFL-ACTFL Can-Do Statements:

  • I can communicate basic information about myself. 
  • I can ask others simple questions about themselves.
  • I can fingerspell various words.
  • I can interpret another student's fingerspelling. 

Materials Needed:


The warm-up is creating a short story with a partner, but wont just be signing a story. They will be fingerspelling each word (even if they know the sign) to gain expressive and receptive fingerspelling skills. 

1. Begin by introducing the Can-Dos for today’s activity, then put students in partners with a whiteboard and a dry erase marker

“Today, we are going to read the Can-Do statements. Then, you'll find a partner, grab a whiteboard and a dry erase marker."

2. The activity is making a short story by alternating each word between partners. One student will begin by fingerspelling a word. The second student will write down what their partner fingerspelled, then they will fingerspell a word, and so on to create a story.

"With your partner, one person will fingerspell a word. The second partner will write down the word. Then, they'll switch roles, and keep adding words to create a story."

3. Continue fingerspelling words with your partner to create a short story. When finished, we'll go around and share our stories with the lab group.

"Keep adding words to make a short story. When we're finished, we'll all go around and share our story with the group."

Main Activity

The main activity is a spy game, allowing the students to use memorization to complete the game. By telling each other facts about "themselves"  using their "ID"'s, students get the chance to practice expressive and receptive sign. 

1. Pass out the identity cards and the photo ID cards. This activity is a spy mission! The students have to find out everything they can about their lab mates new identities! The students will need to show their ID to each other.  Students will share about their new identities, going around the group until everyone has talked to each-other. 

"Here is your identity card and your photo ID. Show others your ID, but don't show them your identity card. Read your identity card."

3. Then students will walk around and converse with each other, learning about everyone's identity. Students aren't allowed to write down any information they learn. At the end, there will be a mission debriefing, and all students will discuss the information they learned about each other.

"Now, you will walk around and chat with others. Learn about them and remember it, but you can't write it down. When we finish, we will talk about what we learned about each person."

4. When finished, write down the information students can remember about each spy. Ask the spy if there was anything the group left out about them and have them share what the others forgot.

"Now, I will write down the information you remember about each spy."


Ask the following words to finish the activity: 

1. "Did you like this activity?"

2. "Do you feel more comfortable fingerspelling words?

3. "Do you feel more comfortable chatting with others?

End of Lab:

• Read Can-Do statements once more and have students evaluate their confidence. 
(Use thumbs up/thumbs down or download our student cards.) 
• Encourage students to be honest in their self-evaluation.
• Pay attention, and try to use feedback for future labs!

NCSSFL-ACTFL Can-Do Statements:

  • I can communicate basic information about myself 
  • I can ask others simple questions about themselves 
  • I can fingerspell various words 
  • I can interpret another student's fingerspelling

Where are we? Rate yourself on the weekly Can-Do Statements using this scale: I get it!, I got it!, I kind of get it..., I don't get it...
Where are we? Rate yourself on the weekly Can-Do Statements using this scale: I get it!, I got it!, I kind of get it..., I don't get it...
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Where are we? Rate yourself on the weekly Can-Do Statements using this scale: I get it!, I got it!, I kind of get it..., I don't get it...

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