Face the Sound: An Educational Game for Children With Disabilities
Why Is Play Important?
Playing games can help children prepare for real-world activities and events. According to recent research, children prefer play focused on reality versus engaging in activities involving flights of fantasy. For instance, social skills can be developed in play driven by imitating adult scenarios. This includes taking turns in conversations and improving listening ability. Overall, play can help develop effective communication skills.
In addition, some games can help with mastering academic areas. Participating in games requiring use of math and reading skills may improve a child’s functioning in school. Games which require a person to keep track of items can help develop organizational strategies as well. Indeed, a minimum level of competition without peer pressure can be conducive to growth for a child. For these reasons, I created the game, Face the Sound, for my students while considering three areas of the Expanded Core Curriculum (ECC):
Areas of the Expanded Core Curriculum Considered for Face the Sound
- Social Interaction Skills: This area of the ECC involves instruction which must be taught sequentially, consciously, and carefully to students with visual impairments. Mastering these skills can be a determining factor in whether a person with vision loss has a fulfilling life with others or eventually endure isolation as an adult.
- Recreation and Leisure: This area of the ECC involves children with vision loss learning about activities and games which they can participate in for fun and relaxation.
- Compensatory or Functional Academic Skills: Concept development, spatial understanding, and listening and communicating effectively are included in this area of the ECC.
Do you think "play" has a role in modern productive instruction?
Materials Needed to Make Face the Sound
- Book: You will need a source from which to create questions for your players. The flexibility of the game allows for you to use any number of academic sources. I will be using a literary text as an example during this article. Nevertheless, your creativity is the deciding factor. You may use a book from mathematics, social studies, history, etc.
- Two Sets of Index Cards: One Set of cards will have questions on them. Use the second set of index cards to glue on pictures of different facial expressions.
- Glue and Scissors: You will need glue to attach photos or images to the index cards; you may require scissors to cut out these images.
- Source of Facial Images or a Camera: You may want to photograph your own face, a friend’s face with permission, or find a source of facial images on the internet.
- Method of Labeling the Cards: You will need a pen, pencil, or printer to write on the back of the cards. Be sure to braille the names of the emotions and questions for your students who read the medium.
- Recording Device: You may use a digital recorder, a computer software program, or smart phone app etc. You will need some way of recording different vocal sounds relevant to facial expressions.
- Playing Area: You will need a place you can play this game: a table, sitting on the floor in a circle, or on the playground.
- Method of Tracking Score: Although players will be responsible for their scores, you should have a way to keep track of how many points each player has, i.e. pen and paper, a word processing program, or blackboard. Remember: For this game, you are the "host."
1. How to Make Face the Sound
First, print out the photos with different facial expressions. The total number of photos you will need depends on how many players are participating. For instance, if you have five players, then you will need five “worried” photos. You will also need five “Happy” photos. You will need to create enough of each emotional state facial cards for as many players as you have. Each player will get one “Happy” card and a “worried” card for example.
Second, glue the photos to the index cards. One photo should be on each card. Write on the back of the index card what emotional state is depicted. For example, on the back of the index card with a “happy” face, you should write the word “Happy.”
On the back of the card, along with the name of the emotion shown, place the points. The Face cards should be worth 1 to three points. Each card should have a different point value. For example, “Happy” may be worth 3 points; “Sad” could be worth 2 points. Place all of these cards together once done. These are your “Face” cards.
2. Create the Vocal Sounds for the Game
Next, create the sounds you will need. Record your voice or use another human’s voice to create vocal sounds related to different emotional states. For example, you may wish to laugh for “Happy.” You may want to simulate crying for “Sad.” You may wish to imitate a deep sigh for "worry." Be sure to store these sounds with “labels” so you can retrieve them quickly.
3. Write Questions for the Game
Now, with the second set of index cards, create questions derived from the book. For example, if the book you have selected is” the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn," by Mark Twain, you might ask: “Who was Huckleberry Finn’s best friend?”
Finally, write your questions on this deck of cards (one question to a card) with points on the back of each card. The question mentioned above may be worth 2 points, another question may be worth 4 points. Try to value these cards between 1 and 5 points. These cards will be placed at the center of the group for everyone to be able to reach them when appropriate.
How to Play Face The Sound
- Decide who will start and move clockwise. Deal out the Face Cards to the players. For the first player, you say: “Select the picture that best fits the sound you hear.”
- Now, play the sound from your recordings. Then let the player select a card from the ones dealt to him/her.
- If the player selects the correct Face Card to match the sound from the recording, he/she is rewarded the points on that Face Card. If the player responds with the wrong card for the sound, then he/she does not receive any points. The chance to respond correctly to the sound with the right Face Card moves to the next player.
- When a player has responded to the sound with the correct Face Card, he/she may select a card from the “Questions deck. He/she must answer the question on the card correctly to receive the points on that card. If the answer is incorrect, then the card is placed at the bottom of the Questions Deck. It is the next player’s turn with a new sound.
- Essentially, the Questions deck is a bonus situation. A player may provide the right Face card for every sound he/she hears without answering any of the Questions cards accurately. This allows for several strategies to eventually win the game.
- The player with the greatest number of points at the end of the game is the winner. The game is finished when all of the Questions cards have been answered correctly by the players.
Final Thoughts on Playing This Educational Game
Face The Sound grew out of a need to help my students with visual impairments develop in areas of the ECC. However, general education teachers may wish to use this game along with teachers who instruct children with autism or mild hearing loss. Also, adults and children with mild cognitive impairments may find this activity entertaining. Although this game requires a little time to make, my students really loved this activity, and I saw improvements in all areas of the ECC and the general curriculum. I suspect this game contributed to that development.
Koenig, A. & M. Cay Holbrook (2000). Foundations of education, 2nd Edition Vol. 1: History and theory of teaching children and youth with visual impairments. New York, NY: AFB Press.
Leary, B., & Schneden, M. V. (1982). "Simon Says" Is Not The Only Game. Los Angeles: American Foundation for the Blind.