Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Review: B.E.A.R.R. Tracks

Today, I would like to invite all of you to journey with me again into the wonderful world of Teddy Talker to learn about the new B.E.A.R.R. (Building Early Articulation and Reading Readiness) Track Card Game

The Cards:

Here you can see the Letter Cards. These cards are placed in a pile with the letter side facing down so students initially see Teddy making the correct placement for that sound. Based on the action card they select, sometimes students have to ask another player to make the target letter sound by using this visual. I have to say that it's probably one of the most impressive parts of the game for me.

Here you can see the different types of Action Cards: Teach Together; Do & Tell; Trace & Say; Look & Say; Listen & Say; Listen & Touch; Write & Say; and Build & Say. Students who find a Wild Card get to pick their favorite sound and make it. These cards are the multi-sensory component of the game.

How to play:

Each student picks one of the color cards. Then, you can let the youngest (or oldest, or best behaved, etc) select an Action Card and a Letter Card. Students perform the action on the Action Card to earn a paw. The actions may be something simple like tracing the letter while saying the sound or something harder like working with a partner to teach how to say that sound to the rest of the group. The goal is to earn five of the paws to create a bear track for Teddy to follow. They announce "Teddy's ready" and lead their Teddy Card up the path while saying their sixth target sound/letter to win. I love the simplicity of the game play. It's one of the least complicated card games I've used with my students outside of doing the typical matching games. 

 One "challenge" I have decided to try with my students is to work together to make one large bear track for Teddy. This is a way for them to work on developing their team building skills as well as their sound-letter correspondence.

Initially, I used the card game with my first grade groups as a quick informal assessment to see if my they still remembered how to produce their target sounds. I made a quick note to myself on post-its of any they forgot so we could review with Teddy's rhyme cards and my mirror. I left both of these items out when we played the game again so we could pause for another review if needed. Keeping a mirror nearby is certainly something I would recommend while playing the B.E.A.R.R. Track game in case you need that extra visual. You could also use the large Teddy board or print out several small copies of Teddy from the Teach Together Toolkit for each student to use with the Build & Say cards.

My students really enjoyed the writing and tracing cards. It really gave them the opportunity to show off what they know without being too intimidating. I would have to say that the Build & Say cards were the most challenging. I had to give several models of that one before they were willing to try. My guess is that all the little tiny mouths were just a tad overwhelming even though we did go through each type of action card before playing. Sometimes, you just have to stop and remind everyone that it is okay to mess up on the first try. Learning is messy and fun. (Which is probably why they now hand me the card deck with a big grin.)

I have also used the B.E.A.R.R. Tracks game with a few of my kindergarten students already. We are in our pilot year of implementing Letterland in the classrooms. I like to incorporate it into our speech time because it forms a strong connection to what they are learning. We added in the cues for each sound as we said them, named the character, and then tried to think of one word with that starts with that sound. It sounds like a lot of components, but it honestly made them that much more invested in the activity. 

If you and your students love Teddy Talker, I would definitely recommend looking into purchasing the card game. It is a great way to review goals, practice following directions, and work on important social skills (turn taking and working together in particular).

Happy trails!

Disclosure Statement: Creative Speech Products provided resources in exchange for a feedback. The opinions expressed in this review are mine. No other compensation was provided. 

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