I Played Card Games WRONG - How I Fixed It

Hello, my name is Laura, I'm an SLP, and of course I play card games with my students. I have a confession to make. I played them wrong, oh-so-wrong, for longer than I want to admit. Don't do what I did. Learn from my mistakes.
In the beginning of my SLP life, I played card games with my artic and language groups. It was engaging and hit a lot of goals. Then, a few groups came along that changed the way I do things. You can read about the 2nd-grade group here. I noticed a pattern emerging.

The student with a language disorder would draw a card, not know the answer, I'd tell them to remember it, and put the card on the bottom of the stack. Lather, rinse, repeat.

What was I thinking?

I started to notice frustration in the students with language disorders. The card would go to the bottom of the deck. The student might or might not get it again. If they did get it again, they probably wouldn't remember the answer.

Meanwhile, the students who were artic-only knew all of the words and picked up the new ones quickly. They always won the games.

This was not going to do. We were focusing on the game and not on goals. I had to change. I had to go back to basics.

I mean, I was working with students with language disorders. I had completely forgotten about the number of exposures to learn a word. I was frustrating these students by asking a question, telling them to remember the question, and then pulling out another card they didn't know the answer to. I wasn't even giving them the minimum of 6-12 exposures to a new word or concept.
 Squirrel Fact and Opinion by All Y'all Need
In this picture, we are playing Squirrel Fact and Opinion. (It's in our store. Amy made it. It's wonderful. Go take a peek. I'll wait).

If a student misses a question, I tell them the answer. That's right, I just give it away. We practice saying it. We discuss it. I lay the card in front of the student and tell them I'm going to ask them the same question on the next turn. They practice saying the answer to themselves. Now, I'm targeting exposures, strategies, and even short-term memory.

In the picture, the student on the left has answered two cards. The facedown card is the one they are remembering.

And if a student forgets the answer before it's their turn again, I give them the answer again. There are some rules, of course, The student remembering the answer can't interrupt others. They can raise their hand, and I will tell them what they are remembering between turns.

The students with language disorders get instruction, exposures, practice, and longer to process the concept. Plus, they feel more successful by knowing what's expected and by being able to answer the question given more appropriate therapy. The artic kids have to practice saying their words to themselves using their target sounds when it's not their turn. They also get more practice.

Play games wisely. Target goals. Use exposures and practice. After all, in therapy, it's not just a game. It's communication.


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