I have not had a moment in the past three weeks to blog! I thought about it every few days, but could not muster the time or the brain power to put pen to paper, or at least finger to keyboard. Interestingly, I found I missed connecting and sharing ideas! I suspect your end of the year activities have you completely immersed as well.
As the end of the year approaches, I feel the need to stay sane and centered, so I print less, create less, and depend on the tried and true more. I have written before about how adapting games for multiple speech and language targets is a win-win. It's great to use games kids already know the rules for and infuse them with language rich content. One of the games that provides a real bang for the buck is Railroad Rush Hour. This game involves arranging train cars on a plastic tray and then maneuvering them in order to get a little, red engine out. The version pictured below is the Rush Hour Jr. edition, where younger players move vehicles in order to get an ice cream truck out of a traffic jam.
What you can do:
- Have your students verbalize each move they make in a grammatical sentence. They can practice verb tenses, pronouns, and word order. Students can also verbalize what you or other players are doing.
- All descriptions can be accompanied by perfect speech (or almost perfect).
- Have one student describe the arrangement of the vehicles as they are displayed on the card to another student. The emphasis can be on size, color, directional orientation (horizontal, vertical), positional concepts (under, beside, over). After all vehicles are in place the puzzle can be solved.
- The solutions to each puzzle are depicted on the back of the cards. Have one student give verbal directions as to how to solve each puzzle to a partner, referencing the solution. The solutions are in a sort of code that the student has to interpret. For instance, if U3 is pictured on a green locomotive, it means move the green locomotive up three spaces.
- Number, size, color, position, and direction concepts can all be incorporated while playing any of the Rush Hour games.
- Have students become the hands of a Rush Hour puzzle solver. This involves attentive listening and comprehension of directions and concepts. Students can also be encouraged to use listening strategies such as requesting clarification and repetition.
- Puzzle solving is an amazing opportunity to talk about planning, action, and review as well as brainstorming possible "road blocks."
Add on decks are available. For a little variety try Safari Rush Hour, too! Happy driving!