Welcome Home Wednesday: Gabriella!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013
Happy Wednesday! Today I would like to Welcome Home, Gabriella! Gabriella has a great post about games to use in therapy with the middle school population. She even has some great (and free!) worksheets to use with the games. Check out her post and leave her some love!

If you’re an SLP working with a school-age population, I am almost positive you own at least one (if not all) of the following games: Candy Land, Hedbanz, Memory, Chutes and Ladders, etc… These are board games I started collecting in grad school because I was sure I’d be working with the little ones. But here I am, two years out of grad school, and working with a middle school population. I’ve learned over these last two years that while they may often appear tough and/or “too cool for school,” they’re still in fact, kids at heart. They love playing games, coloring (sometimes on the desk ;), competing against one another, using (and sometimes “ accidentally” taking) my colored pens, and so on. There are a ton of board games for this age group that can be used as therapy tools to reinforce skills learned in your sessions! I thought I’d introduce you to some of my favorite games and how they can be used to target a variety of speech/language goals for your middle and even high school students:

1.       Bafflegab ($20 on Amazon): This game is one of the BEST investments I've made.  It is SO versatile.
The game comes with a deck of various adjectives, nouns, and verbs. The words vary in difficulty, which is great because you can choose words based on your students levels. The great part however, is that each card has a word AND the definition. Here are three examples of cards I randomly chose, just so you can get an idea of what they look like: 

You can adapt this game anyway you like. I have students choose at least 5 cards from the deck. I give them 3-5 minutes to generate a one paragraph story using the words. Then, each student takes a turn sharing their story. We vote on who has the funniest story, or which student used the most words correctly in a sentence. Using the words correctly can DEFINITELY be a challenge for my kiddos. Here are some areas of speech/language that this game covers:
a)      Articulation: Have students choose words that have to do with their target sounds. You can have them write or say them in a phrase/sentence/paragraph/ etc…
b)      Vocabulary skills: learning/using new vocabulary words.  The possibilities for vocab activities are endless. Students can even find sophisticated synonyms for the less complex words.
c)       Written language skills: Targets syntax and paragraph writing. You can also just have students use the words in a sentence. I also make sure that they are watching out for spelling errors/punctuation. You can choose a winner based on who has the least amount of errors. You can make this silly (aka, students can write about ANYTHING), or challenge them by sticking to a particular topic.
d)      Grammar skills: PARTS OF SPEECH!!!

2.       Apples to Apples (Junior): I’m sure most of you have this game in your closet! I won’t spend time describing how to play it, since I assume that most of you are familiar. When I first started in my school, the SLP who worked there before me left behind a bunch of worksheets. I found a whole folder of worksheets that went along with various games. When I found a worksheet for apples to apples, I was SO excited.

Before students put down the card that they think most closely relates to the red card, they need to explain (on paper, and then verbally) how the red card and green card are related. They must do this in a complete sentence (see worksheet in TPT store for example). While it might take more time to write this down, you are targeting written language skills, and vocabulary! Apples to Apples can be used for very similar skills as listed above for Baffle Gab.

3.       Funglish:

I came across this game in an outlet store ($5) and was very interested in it.  I have never heard of it, but the description looked PERFECT for my age group. You need to draw a card from a deck (a noun such as ketchup, tsunami, flamingo, doctor, etc…) and then use a variety of adjectives to describe the card that you are holding (majority of the tiles are adjectives, but there are some nouns and verbs). Other players have to guess what the word is that you’re describing based on the adjectives you list. The tiles are categorized by color and include: positive/negative traits, colors/patterns, sizes/shapes, materials, opposites, etc..

How PERFECT is this game to use for descriptive language skills?! Students can learn how to use adjectives within their writing, add details, and so on. You can also target vocabulary by discussing the meaning of any unfamiliar words. Adapt this game in a variety of ways to target various goals/age groups!

4.       Rory’s Cubes:

I recently bought this on amazon when it was on sale. It’s a tiny little box, so it doesn’t take up much space. Students roll all the cubes at the same time and must come up with a story based on the picture that landed. I use this game to target narrative language skills and story grammar! I provide the students with a graphic organizer that I adapted from here: http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Writing-Graphic-Organizers-for-Rorys-Story-Cubes

We discuss the various story elements and why they’re important. Students can share their stories with one another after they are done! I’ve also used this game with a social skills group and we targeted turn taking and staying on topic. You can also have students use particular vocabulary words within their story, or descriptive language (carryover from the games above, hehe ;). Challenge students to use complete, complex, and/or compound sentences.

I can probably keep going and going, but this post is already long enough! I hope you are able to find a game in here that can be adapted to fit the needs of your students. My MS kids LOVE playing these games, and I think yours will too.  You can find FREE adapted worksheets for these games on my TPT store. I uploaded them there for easy accessJ. If you have ANY questions, please feel free to e-mail me at gshakhnes@yahoo.com

Visit Gabriella's Teachers Pay Teachers store here:  http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Gabriella-Shakhnes


  1. Great post, Gabriella! Maybe I missed the link, but how do we access our TpT store? Thanks!!

  2. Hi, thank you so much! The link to my TPT store is: http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Gabriella-Shakhnes

    You can find the worksheets there for free :)

  3. Love your post, Gabs! I enjoy working with the K-3 population, but it's great to know that these games are out there if I ever find myself working with older children. (I didn't realize you were a TPTer too). :)
    -Lisa Steinhardt


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