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Subject: Need Games for Special Needs Students rss

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Chris Kohlman
Canada
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Hi,

I had a school principal e-mail me after attending a board game session I do for teachers. He is looking for some games for a specific group of students. I suggested Dixit or Sherlock. Here is what he is looking for:

We have an autistic student (grade 5 next year, grade 2-3 level) and 2 ESL students (grade 4, roughly grade 2 level) who we are looking to provide some social/language skills for next year during French period. We are looking at roughly 25 minutes of time for 2 periods a week. I was wondering if you have any suggestions for me on some game board programming etc. that would be beneficial for these students?
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Kevin
United States
Martville
New York
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I had luck with Can't Stop in a similar situation while subbing a few weeks ago. I drew the board on the whiteboard and used magnets for pieces.
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Eddy
Germany
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1) Might Rory's Story Cubes fit the bill? With appropriate supervision, it could be played with as much or as little pressure as appropriate -- enforcing (or not) complete sentences, proper grammar, etc. An added bonus is the durability of the components. With only nine picture dice, able to withstand virtually anything a school kid can dish out, and perfectly playable even if one or two are missing, this game seems rather well suited to a school environment. I'm not sure this one could consistently go 25 minutes for the group you describe; it might depend on their patience and attentiveness during others' turns.

2) Casino might serve double duty, engaging both math and language skills. When we play, I make my two youngsters announce their play -- e.g. "Six plus three equals nine; capture nine." A qualified language teacher might balk at the idea that many of the typical plays produce a grammatically incorrect sentence. I don't honestly know if such is harmful or helpful. I'll defer to others for comment on that. If durability is an issue, card-faced dominoes are available. And if the stigma of playing cards in the classroom is an issue, one could use an Uno deck, or a Rook deck, or a Skip-Bo deck that dispense with traditional suits and might be more acceptable. (I don't know the environment in which you teach -- sometimes it's important.) And finally, although it's a tenuous connection, standard card suits are French style, since you mention this is during (or instead of) French class.

Whatever works for this group of students, I wish you luck and blessings.
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Jo Chapman
New Zealand
Wellington
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We've had some great fun playing Castle Panic with 10-12 year old Asperger's kids. I'm not sure what age you're talking for Canadian grade 5 but we've also played Tsuro and Kids of Carcassonne with younger/less able children - Tsuro in particular. While those two games aren't specifically language related, you can still encourage saying aloud what you're doing.

I wouldn't suggest Dixit for an Autistic child - the whole premise of the game is mind-reading, which is likely to be both difficult and stressful.
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Chris Kohlman
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Jowolf wrote:
We've had some great fun playing Castle Panic with 10-12 year old Asperger's kids. I'm not sure what age you're talking for Canadian grade 5 but we've also played Tsuro and Kids of Carcassonne with younger/less able children - Tsuro in particular. While those two games aren't specifically language related, you can still encourage saying aloud what you're doing.

I wouldn't suggest Dixit for an Autistic child - the whole premise of the game is mind-reading, which is likely to be both difficult and stressful.

I have had great success with Dixit with kids on the autism spectrum. I don't emphasize the mind reading element---because they don't think that way. They are so literal it makes it quite challenging for others to do well.

As an example, I had a student that his clue was "Blue"---I look down at the cards in my hand and all 6 had blue in them and the display cards were not much different. They did okay, especially playing with their peers.
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Matthew Proper-Lee
United States
Levittown
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Tell Tale aka Tell Tale from Blue Orange Games (currently) might be an idea. The game is like a card version of Rory's mentioned above. The cards can all be shuffled together and are double sided, so one of the game types is that players make up a story with a hand of 5 random cards, and for this situation, just let the kids make up the most imaginaative story they can and don't bother scoring it. Once Upon a Time: The Storytelling Card Game may work too, though I think may be a bit too restrictive for the ideas in mind.
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Lizzie
Scotland
Edinburgh
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I don't know much about the grades in Canada but would these work?

SET - the pattern matching can be quite engaging for kids with ASC and you can encourage language with why sets are sets - "all the colours are the same, all the shapes are different"

Bohnanza - maybe with simplified rules but the trading aspect would encourage language.

Fast Flowing Forest Fellers - saying whether they are moving the guy or the girl, who they are pushing.
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Chris Kohlman
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Canadian grades and American grades are the exact same. You just (or we do) refer to them differently. You say "5th grade" and we say "grade 5". A "junior" there is a grade 11 student here.
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MC Crispy
United Kingdom
Basingstoke
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Except that Scotland isn't - to the best of my knowledge - a state in the US or Canada. Unless, like grades, you do geography different over there.
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Otherworldly Gamer
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mccrispy wrote:
Except that Scotland isn't - to the best of my knowledge - a state in the US or Canada. Unless, like grades, you do geography different over there.


It isn't? I was never good with geology.
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Giles Pritchard
Australia
Shepparton
Victoria
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Like many teachers I have aspergas kids and ESL kids in my classroom. I've found a variety of games work really well. First any game, because it provides a structure and framework for interaction has been useful with my aspergas kids - one has a particular affinity with Ticket to Ride because he is a great lover of trains, another likes any game as long as it is explained in a way that structures any point of disagreement (for example - the rules for how a winner is determined in a round of apples to apples is unstructured - now this is fine, as long as I explain or she understands that the player who is acting as the judge gets to choose, and they may choose the one that makes them laugh, they may choose the one that best fits, they may choose for different reasons - with that structure in place she has gone from finding the game frustrating to highly enjoyable).

I've had success with games that tie into interest areas, but any game has worked really well. My school club collection is listed here for anyone interested: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/user/stgeorgesrd

As for my ESL kids - anything that gets them talking. Of course it depends on what level they are at - but Shopping Cart is a great and very simple game that is useful for vocabulary building around every day things like groceries. Apples to Apples, Rory's Story cubes, Once Upon a Time, Say Anything family edition - are all good discussion/story based games.


If anyone is curious, I run a podcast with Don Dennis of the On Board Games podcast called Games in Schools and Libraries - you can find us here if you are so inclined: www.gamesschoolslibraries.com (apologies for the blatant plug!)


All the best - sounds great! Let us know how it goes!

Cheers,
Giles.
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