Sunday, July 9, 2017

Use Board Games to Teach the Expanded Core Curriculum

Looking for another fun way to implement the Expanded Core Curriculum at home this summer? How about some fun board game play! Say what?! Yep! Here are three board games that pack a fun ECC punch.
It's just not recreation leisure ECC area that board games cover. Many students with vision impairments especially those with more significant vision loss struggle with asking meaningful questions to obtain information. It's a true skill for our kids and youth to learn how to discern useful information and know how to get it. This is something I have been working on teaching my students for forever. In fact, one of my favorite OM instructor and I used to joke that we were going to start a question camp just to work on the art of asking good questions to get meaningful information!

This year at my Theater Camp I figured out a way to work on this area. I got some board games that focus on questions, listening, information, etc. that were actually fun to play. The first of my favorite games is Hedbanz. This is a great game for question asking that also packs a lot of other ECC areas.

The first thing I do is make sure all of the students are familiar with the rules and the "how to" of the game. The pictures I've posted are of the game brand new. Next, I whip out some Brailleables, any kind of fave Braille labels or I just Braille right onto the card (I would do this if you are just buying for home. I use labels because I use them at camps over and over). I also discuss some of the objects on the card as a pre-teach for concept development. 

Note: I secretly keep tabs of cards that students did not know anything about so I can later get those items and teach about it. Most times the kids know the cards but I always have my teacher brain on....
Then I just play the game! There are a few versions like Disney Hedbanz and all are a lot of fun. They do give you sample question cards to help you ask good questions. I usually Braille those, too. This game is great for working ECC skills because you really can touch on almost all ECC areas. It's also just a fun social game. I play it with all ages of students to be honest because we all just have a great time. Sometimes we race to see how fast we can figure out the cards with older students or do something new and silly for them. 

Apples to Apples is another fun game that teaches ECC areas. I prefer to play the Junior version with most of my younger students. It takes awhile to get the Braille on but that, too, is an ECC teaching moment since I ask my students to help Braille them. We have a lot of fun with the combinations and again we discuss different social items related. There isn't too much for the question asking in this game but it still teaches a lot of meaningful ECC skills. 

What is IT? is an APH game that is similar to Hedbanz. I originally didn't know about this game until it was offered to me as we were cleaning out old items. What a diamond of a find! Check out the example I snapped a picture of below:
They provide tons of items and some helpful tips for teaching how to play the game. Once I see that students get the hang of it, I challenge them to come up with their own items by topic. For example, things you would find in a kitchen. See how I am teaching ECC here? I'm working some good independent living skills in a fun way. Then I can extend the lesson by asking students to find the actual items in the kitchen or discuss where to buy them/use them for different types of meals. 

It's been really fun to keep playing these board games and linking them to the ECC. I also love playing Left Center Right (see old posts for it) and other group games like Hottest (see older posts) that completely incorporate Expanded Core skills. 

If you aren't sure how you are implementing ECC while playing, break down the nine areas and see how they fit. I'll be sharing my favorite ECC worksheets that I use with my teachers to help them implement the ECC later.