Teach Through Games: Should I or Shouldn’t I?

Teach Through Games: Should I or Shouldn’t I?

Age level: Middle School, High School

Description: This game, created by Dominique Baudry, is designed to encourage Social Thinking (based on Michelle Garcia Winner’s framework) and social problem solving. It includes meaningful, motivating, and easy-to-use materials.

Should I or Shouldn’t I requires students to think about how they would respond in a certain situation, how their response will be received by others, and compare their responses to those of other players.

Should_I_or_Shou_4fe34ee03ef4fThe game includes 100 Prompt cards to practice perspective taking, 50 challenge cards that help generalize learning, six 5-point behavior rating scales, and six sets of Vote cards. To play, one player chooses a card and reads it aloud. Each player then uses the 5-point behavior rating scale to determine how to best describe the behavior illustrated by the Prompt card, then places the corresponding Vote card on the playing surface facedown. Everyone reveals their votes. Now the facilitator guides discussion about everyone’s votes and how the behavior from the Prompt Card might be received, addressing questions and concerns as they arise within the conversation.

For example, a Prompt card reads “You hum while studying in the library because it helps you concentrate. Other kids are sitting near you giving you annoyed looks. You continue to hum.” Students then vote if the behavior is a 1 (behavior that makes others have good thoughts,) a 2 (behavior that is fine or okay), and so forth by placing the corresponding number card in the center.

The first time I played this game was with a 12-year-old girls with Aspergers who is highly motivated by card games. She was easily able to provide the appropriate response to each Prompt card, but unable to explain why her answer was correct. The game offered clear structure and a safe environment for discussion that is very important for leading her towards successful social interactions. One Prompt card in particular has stuck with me from this interaction. The Prompt asked if, while sitting in a doctor’s office waiting room, you should ask the person next to you what’s wrong. My student was perplexed about why it is sometimes okay and even necessary to ask someone what’s wrong, while other times it is considered rude. The discussion we had was useful and provided information she is immediately able to use. Not only that, but it addressed a need that can easily remain hidden because this is a student who is able to fly under the radar because she knows basic social rules; but is rarely given the opportunity to learn and engage in more complex social situations.

The final piece of the game is the Challenge cards. Each of these cards contains an open-ended question for discussion. You can play with Prompt cards and Challenge cards mixed in together, or just use deck, depending on the needs of your particular learner(s).photo (49)

Skills & Modifications: There are several modifications that you may need to make. The first is that some learners may not be ready to play this in a larger group where disagreements may arise. It may need to be introduced 1:1. The second is to go through the cards and use only the cards that are relevant for our particular student(s). The game covers a wide range of social interactions, so I use this second modification each time I use the game. The third modification I sometimes use is to remove the point system. Some learners are not motivated or are even distracted by point systems.  Another modification might be to only use the Prompt cards for learners who are not yet ready for the Challenge cards, as I did with the 12-year-old described in above. The teaching guide also discusses that you may need to introduce your learner to the Social Thinking vocabulary prior to playing.

– Perspective Taking – The teaching guide states, “A successful social partner figures out how to respond during an interaction in a manner that keeps everyone willing to continue to interact.” This statement really struck me as I see so many of my students respond in a manner that ends the interaction. This game provides language for discussing and understanding how other people respond to your behavior, which helps increase our learners’ abilities to interact more successfully.

Pros: The teaching guide that is included with the game is excellent. It provides in depth instruction for preparing your learners to play and meeting the unique needs of each individual learner. It also provides a lot of insight for the adults into the fine details of each learner’s needs.

Cons: My only con was that there wasn’t an edition for younger students, but they just released one! You can take a look at it here. I have not had the opportunity yet to play this version, but am excited to try it out.

Ideas for extending the lesson: With one of my students we use the cards and 5-point behavior scale to discuss both desirable and undesirable behaviors he has shown during the course of the previous week. His parent joins us for the activity so we have a structured and calm setting for addressing his skills and his areas for improvement.

Cost: $22.00 You should invest in this game if: you are seeking structured activities for teaching complex social skills to teens and preteens with ASD or other developmental delays.



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