Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Defining Words: Part 5 Games and Apps

There are lots of fun games to use to reinforce categories and word definitions.  Here are some of my favorites:

Name 5
Just like it sounds.  Each card gives a prompt for you to name 5 items in random categories, such as 'items that make you sneeze' or 'types of dogs.  There is a timer which adds an element of difficulty if you want it.  Great for any speech therapy session if you play for a few minutes at the very end. 

Too bad I didn't patent this when I had the chance, because I totally invented it.  Oh well.  It's a great way to reinforce the concepts of categories and defining words.  Kids will know when they didn't do a great job describing it because the other child will tell them flat-out, "I have no idea what you're talking about."  And they will be rewarded when they used good clues because the child will guess.  The categories are concrete and the vocabulary is familiar.  I like to introduce this game by modeling "bad clues".  Say we're talking about  ice cream.  I say, "It's yummy".  They might have a guess but most likely they will not get it from that one clue.  I then proceed to explain that lots of things are yummy so that is a 'bad clue'.  It's usually quite the 'aha' moment for the kids.  I'm constantly prompting them by asking, "What makes it special or different?"
20 Questions
A great way to teach kids the importance of 'narrowing it down'.  I usually draw a big circle on the board and call it 'animals'.  We talk about how there are many different kinds of animals and we need to 'narrow it down'.  Then I discuss how we can narrow it down by type (mammals, reptiles, amphibians) or habitat (tundra, jungle, forest).  See how great it plays into the curriculum?  20 Questions is a fun way to teach the applicability of
 'narrowing it down'.

And here are some apps that I know of that you can use to teach sorting, organizing, and defining words:

- Objects: Pro
- What Does Not Belong?
- Clean Up: Category Sorting
- NLConcepts Autism: Sort and Categorize
- Pre-Number Category Sorting Matching Game
- Name that Category
- Let's Name Things
- Autism and PDD Categories
- Category Carousel

I am sure there are lots more!  Leave us a comment if you have one that you particularly enjoy or know about.

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