Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Kid Talk and Table Talk-Game of the Week-July 23, 2008

Table Talk and Kid Talk are “Conversation Cards” I recently stumbled across at my local toy story while looking for a present. Any game with the word conversation printed on the box catches my eye. While I have not tried these cards in therapy yet, I have used them with a multi-aged group of kids and saw real potential. The responses expected in this game are open ended yet specific. You will understand that after you see some sample cards. Game Systems Inc. produces Table Talk and Kid Talk. As soon as I get a chance, I will peruse their site for more language development gems. I can see the potential use as a whole session or for quick 5 minute filler. Kid Talk is more appropriate for younger children or students who lack maturity, good general knowledge or attention to task. I found that Table Talk makes a good family game as well.

The Original Rules:
Each card tells a little story. The table talk stories are longer and the material more mature. Then the players must respond to the same simple thought questions. The player can give any answer they like but they must answer the question.
I can see that these cards would work well in therapy. Giving/organizing thoughts and opinions can be very difficult for some students to do. Sometimes students want to tell their whole life story and explain their answers. Sometimes their responses are way off target or even slightly off target enough to be incorrect. Sometimes students do not understand that their own opinion may be correct and may peruse the card looking for the correct answer.

Skills Targeted: Drawing Inferences/Conclusions, Auditory Comprehension, Pragmatic skills (topic maintained, changing topics), organizing language

Modified Way to Play:
I have not developed game modifications yet but I assume I would have to give several cues/guidance to help the students stay on topic and organize language in a concise way.

Sample Cards:

Three of a Crime-Game of the Week-June 24, 2008

Three of a Crime is one of my newer games. I just happened upon it while browsing my local toy store. It actually seems based on one of the first games I ever used in therapy, Mastermind. Three of a Crime is put out by Gamewright. I use tend to use it for about half a session or for quick 5 minute filler. I will often have the students work in teams of 2 so they have to discuss their choices. Kids actually ask to play this game!

The Original Rules:
There are 7 criminals with funny names. Each card pictures 3 criminals. One person draws a card, that only they look at, these criminals are the true culprits. The other player or team of players play detective and have to figure out which three criminals are the true culprits. They pick a card and lay it down on the table. They are told if zero, one or two of the culprits appear on the card. They keep picking cards until they have enough information to make a logical deduction or specific conclusion as to who the culprits are.

Modified Way to Play:
Skills Targeted: Drawing Inferences/Conclusions, Pragmatic skills

-I may use small post it notes to help students understand how to rule out certain criminals.
-I encourage the kids to line up the cards vertically so they can compare them in an organized fashion
-I may provide specific explanation and walk certain students through the game process. -I only have to do that a few times for most kids then they get it.
-I actually have a few students that can see the correct answer easier and quicker than I can. That’s an ego boost for them.

This game is a lot more fun than it sounds. I am actually amazed at how the kids get into it. The discussions they have with each other are wonderful. Three of a Crime is a simple game that can be a lot of fun. This game is recommended for ages 8 and up, up being the key word. Great game for kids and parents to play together.

Nock in the Knowledge-Game of the Week- March 23, 2008

Nock in the Knowledge is a game designed for kids by kids. Sorry you will not find this on any store shelf, at least at this time. Three of my 6th grade students created Nock in the Knowledge in 2007. The boys decided to base the design of the Nock in the Knowledge game board loosely after the layout of our school. I guided the question categories in the areas of antonyms, homographs, figurative language, analogies and descriptions. The boys looked through my books and lists for appropriate examples and actually choose or made up all the questions. They also created a brochure to explain the objective and rules of the game.We worked on the project about once a week for 2-3 months. A lot of work went into this. The kids were so proud of their finished product. The last time the boys and I played (as 7th graders) we realized they all understood the concepts presented and the game was almost too easy for them. Whenever I tell them I used the game with a younger group of kids, I can tell they are pleased.The materials were minimal post it notes, heavy board, card stock and clear contact paper. The questions were produced using excel and the brochure was produced in Microsoft works. Easy as pie and it was an invaluable learning experience. I continue to use the game as an effective therapy tool.
The Original Rules: From the student designed brochureNock in the KnowledgeTests your knowledge in the areas of: Analogies, Antonyms, Identifying descriptions, Homographs, Figurative LanguageObjective: To be the first one to finish the school day without getting in troubleAges: This game is designed for students in grades 5-8Number of Players: 2-6 players can play this game. One person should be the facilitator or person who ask the questions
1. Roll the dice to see who goes first
2. Each player takes a turn in a clockwise rotation
3. Place your piece on the “Good Morning Arrow“.
4. Answer a question form the question pile-if there is no fascinator players must take turns asking the questions.
5. If you answer the question correctly roll or spin the die and move that number of spaces.
6. If you answer the question incorrectly go back to the last extra help space.
7. If you land on a green space, follow the directions.
8. If you land on a corner and follow the arrow up or down to the second floorFinishing the GameThe game ends when your game piece lands on the “End of the Day Arrow”. You must answer a question and roll the exact number to land on the “End of the Day Arrow”
Skills Targeted:Understanding in the areas of antonyms, homographs, figurative language, analogies and descriptions, Drawing Inferences/Conclusions, Auditory Comprehension, Vocabulary and Pragmatic skills

Sample Questions:

WordBurst-Game of The Week March 8, 2008

Word Burst is a game I purchased through LinguiSystems, a company that specializes in speech and language materials. Word Burst is a word recall game. This game provides word retrieval practice using three main techniques: Visual Imagery, Synonyms, Word Association and Sound/Letter Cueing. I use this game with groups, teams and individuals. I may use this game as a quick 5 minute filler or for a whole session. I have been able to easily modify this game to fit with all levels and disabilities.

The Original Rules:The game consists of 100 cards, 25 in each of the categories mentioned above. Each card has 10 examples. To play the game you pick a category and place it in the red plastic sleeve, which makes the words visible. Then ask:

Visual Imagery Cards-Name all the things you might see in a kitchenSynonym Cards-present a word and have the student generate a synonymWord Association Cards-Name all the things that have to do with campingSound/Letter Cueing Cards-cue initial sound of a targeted word within a category (such as things that come in pairs, green things)
Using the grease pencil, you check off matching or correct answers or write in plausible responses. The kids find the grease pencil a bit of a novelty since overhead projectors are passé. Even the red plastic sleeve fascinates some of them even it is so old fashioned looking.I guess the idea is to tally up correct responses.

Modified Way to Play:Skills Targeted: Word finding strategies and Vocabulary, Pragmatic skills

  • I modify this game in so many ways depending on the students I am working with it is almost impossible to list them all.
  • I often review the word retrieval strategies targeted in this game. I have made up a set of strategy cards from the information provided in the WordBurst instruction book that I give to each student (see below)
  • Some of the Vocabulary is higher level so I may omit certain items or provide additional cueing.
  • I will write answers on a big board to get everyone more involved
  • I will occasionally have the kids write out their answers then compare
  • I let the students challenge me with items. I think it is good for them to see adults struggle with retrieval tasks to let them know you do not have to be perfect

    Strategy Reference Cards: Word Retrieval Strategies

Visual Imagery
Create a picture in your mind of the item or its associated environment. For example, for“Things You See at a Grocery Store”,You might say, “close your eyes and paint a picture of a grocery store. Imagine that you are walking down the fruits and vegetables aisle”.Tell us what you see.

Word Associations
Recall words by identifying related items such as objects, parts, descriptors and object/functions. For example, for bird, you might say, “nest, wings, fly, chirp” or “beak”.

Sound/Letter Cueing
Recall a given word by cueing with the initial sound or letter. For example for flowers, you might say, “It starts with the sound d.” The player says “daisy”

Think of a word that has a similar meaning. For example, for “big” you might say “large, huge” or “tremendous”.

Smart Mouth-Game of the Week February 17, 2008

  • My students love playing Smart Mouth. The game itself is a little more challenging than you may initially think. The goal is to be the first to generate a word when given the parameters of an initial and final letter. This is one of the games in my collection that I use as a quick, 5-10 minute filler as the beginning or end of therapy.
  • The Original Rules: Each pair of letters represents the beginning and ending or a word. The player that comes up with the best word receives a certain number of points. A 5 letter word would be worth more points that a 4 letter word. Words that end in ed, er, est or plurals are discouraged.

Modified Way to Play:Skills Targeted: vocabulary building, word retrieval and pragmatic skills

  • Rather than making this a competition, I have the students take turns.
  • If the student is unable to come up with an appropriate word, I will either let the others take a guess or move to the next student. It really depends on the student’s level and abilities.
  • We don’t keep score, when they generate an appropriate word I slide the letter tiles over to them.
  • Most of the kids either line up their tiles or count their matches. I often run out of time or very nonchalantly mention it is time to clean up. The fun actually seems to be the excitement of generating the word.
  • I allow the kids to produce 3 letter words.
  • For most therapy groups, I also let the students use words with common suffixes. I actually may remind them if they are struggling.

Working in the public schools, I often have students who are very language disable. For those students I will just present one letter at time. Most are successful at this level and seem to have fun. If for some reason my more involved students are not having success generating an appropriate word, I may give an extra cue to help them come up with a word.

Such and Such-Game of the Week February 10, 2008

Such and Such is one of the newer games in my collection. The answers come in pairs. Every response is ________ and _______. Such and Such comes from Patch Products.

The Original Rules:Each card contains 5 questions. Teams or individuals take turns reading the questions to each other. If you answer 5 out 5 correctly, you receive 5 points. You can brainstorm but answers must be presented as a pair. Players have 40 seconds to answer 5 questions. If you or your team passes on a clue, you cannot go back. The first team to reach 30 points wins.

Modified Way to Play: Skills Targeted: word relationships, auditory comprehension, pragmatic skills, word retrieval, general knowledge of our culture

  • When working with a group I am usually the only one to read the clues and keep score.

  • We may play individually or with teams depending on the student’s individual goals.
  • I usually have to go through several cards to find appropriate cues that the students have a good chance of knowing. That is the one drawback to this game. A junior version would be great.
  • If necessary, I will rephrase or repeat the cues.
  • Sometimes I will play the game with them and make it the students against me. That is to show them that the answers are sometimes a little difficult and that I can’t get them all correct. The kids love it when they stump me.
  • These clues are fairly easy to read. However, if there is a problem I have the students spell out difficult words so I won’t see the answers.
    I like the idea that the students have to come up with 2 related answers. It makes it a little more challenging and the students start to think about words and how they can relate to each other. The relationships vary and involve people, places and things. I have only used the game in therapy for a few weeks and so far, the older students seem to like it. The only drawback is that I have to flip through the cards to find appropriate cues but it is doable. The variety of the cues makes it versatile when working with middle school aged language groups where the abilities of the students often vary. Such and Such is recommended for ages 10 and up.

Sample Descriptions: Click on picture

Friday, July 18, 2008

Game of the Week-20 Questions for Kids February 3, 2008

20 Questions for Kids is another one of my top games in therapy. The cards that come with this game are a speech and language therapist’s dream come true. Put out by University Games, should really be called 20 clues. I will use it for a whole session or for quick 5 minute filler.

The Original Rules:
To be honest I never really followed the rules and it has been a long time since I have read the original rules. Each card gives 20 clues about a person (real or fictional), place or thing. The children take turns listening to the clues and try to guess the target word. To keep track of which clues are read, chips cover individual spots numbered one to twenty. The game board is a path in the shape of a question mark. Lots of my students have found this interesting.

Modified Way to Play:
Skills Targeted: Drawing Inferences/Conclusions, Auditory Comprehension, Memory, Pragmatic skills

  • I take control of the chips just to save time.
  • When working with a group I am usually the only one read the clues. unless I am playing or have the kids working in teams.
  • The language used in the clues is sometimes tricky; however, the cards have the answers on the bottom so I instruct the kids to cover the answer with their thumb so I (or other players) do not see the answer when I help with reading.
  • I will go through the pile to make sure the children have a reasonable chance of guessing the item, Is it something they would know?
  • In a small group setting, I usually have the students take turns.
  • The student selects a number; I cover that number with a chip and read the corresponding clue.
  • Depending on the abilities of the student, I may rephrase/repeat the clue or even previous clues.
  • Now the student can make a guess.
  • At this point I may talk about whether the child made a good logical guess or ask them to tell me how they came up with that answer, maybe even reread the clues to tell them why that answer would not work.
  • The following student must wait for the next clue before they can respond.
    If the student guesses the answer after only 4 clues, they can move 16 spaces, after 10 clues 10 spaces…..
  • If I only have one student with me, we will take turns reading the clue cards to each other. This is still fun and targets individual needs.
  • Sometimes I will use the cards without the game board, reading from top to bottom, as a quick activity.

This is a game where we tend to have a lot of fun. There is a lot of opportunity to practice individual skills. Occasionally, a student will be a little disappointed that they can’t figure out an answer. However, I will take that as a teaching opportunity pointing out that some of the clues are clearly easier than others. I might point out some of the silly responses other have made (all in fun and only when appropriate). I am not big on letting kids win all the time but I will often make sure I listen to a few more clues before I guess just to show them it is not always easy. In the process of writing this, I found that there are 2 new versions of this game. I plan on purchasing both today. (Attn: Do not purchase the "new edition" if you already own the original game-the questions cards are identical 2/23/2008). The Original 20 Questions for Kids is recommended for children 7-12 years of age. The 21st Century 20 Questions is recommended for ages 8-adult. The variety within the cards makes this game extremely versatile with middle school aged language groups where the abilities of the students often vary.

Sample Descriptions: Click on Picture