Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Party Pups---review of a preposition game

I've noticed recently that my fellow speech bloggers have been reviewing products provided by companies, and having a lot of fun doing this!  In this time of limited funding, and limited purchase power, I was feeling left out.  Then, I received a wonderful email from 'Carrie' from Super Duper asking ME to pick what I would like to review.  I felt honored!   This game, Party Pups, was provided for me by Super Duper, with a request that I review it. The opinions presented below are entirely my own. 

Since I seem to be working on prepositions a lot recently, the thought of reviewing Party Pups appealed to me.  According to the description, the object of the game is to "collect dog treat tokens for your dog as you practice using prepositions."  Essentially, there are 3 packages of cards with 24 prepositions targeted (each preposition is shown in three different contexts).  The pictures are engaging photos of dogs at various places and positions.  Prepositions include 'above', 'across', 'after', 'around', 'at', 'on', 'through'......this list is long and includes most of the common and some more advanced prepositions.

I wrote out the sentence to help a student add the verb.

Counting dog treats
Each child chooses a game board, the adult chooses a set of cards, and everyone takes turns picking a card and using the given preposition in a sentence to describe the picture.  After each turn, the player pushes the button to activate the electronic spinner to collect the corresponding number of dog treat tokens.

Now it's time for my first review! 

Positives first---

1.  The kids loved this game!  I played it with 4 different groups of children ranging from second grade to 5th grade---all developmentally delayed or autistic, with three of the children also learning English as a second language. The pictures were very attractive, clear, and entertaining.  The rules were simple, and at the end of every turn, pushing the beeping spinner and collecting bones was extremely reinforcing.  The game held their attention, rules were learned quickly, and they talked about other things too, such as 'bunk beds'  pictured here.  They also really got into counting the dog treats and deciding who had the 'most', 'least', and 'same' amounts. 

2.  The game can be adapted a bit.  The game need not be played with all 24 preposition cards.  For the kids with younger language skills, only very basic concepts could be targeted.  More advanced concepts or prepositions can be saved for later.

3. You can also use the cards for a comparison activity.  For example, the word 'above' is shown three different ways.  For the more advanced children, see if they can explain what is the same in the cards and what is different.

4.  There is a little booklet with some extra game ideas to try, along with fun fact pages about each breed of dog pictured on the cards.  We didn't have time to delve into this today. 

 Thoughts to keep in mind

1.  The SLP using this game needs to know that the goal for this game is not to follow directions using prepositions or receptively identify them, but to label a picture using a given preposition in a grammatical phrase or sentence.  As you can see in the pictures above, the target word is shown below each picture, so if the child can read, all the thinking is done for deciding the appropriate preposition.  I found this game was really good for working on using correct sentence structure and syntax after given a word.  (I hope my explanation here makes sense.)

2.  Most of the vocabulary  presented in the pictures was age appropriate; however, a few of the pictures had unfamiliar items. (e.g. 'dog groomer', 'Eiffel Tower').  There were a couple of prepositions ('before' and 'after') that were too difficult and had more to do with the concept of time rather than space.  I just pulled out those cards for now, since those needed direct teaching using other materials.  

3.  Sometimes manufactured games come with data collection sheets but this game had none.  A data sheet would be easy for anyone like me to make, but a pre-made one could easily be included with the game or available for download from the Super Duper website.  In this time of RtI, accountability, and evidence-based practice, data is the driving force behind progress monitoring.  

So that's my review.  If you are interested in purchasing this, go here.  As I wrote earlier, my kids truly loved this game. I think their responses were the most enthusiastic I've seen for a manufactured language game.
In order to really use it effectively,  I do need to type up a simple pre- and post-data collection sheet, and I need to keep exact goals in mind as I play the game with students, taking data and adapting accordingly. I feel that this game would definitely be worth purchasing.    



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