What do you get when you combine sandals, flower seeds, maracas and a Kentucky Derby hat with teacher creativity and a Zoom full of delighted students? If you said learning, you’d score a bingo!
Perkins teachers always bring innovative and individualized instruction to students at home. Every Thursday, that instruction takes the form of remote Bingo, Perkins-style.
Instead of calling numbers, familiar objects are displayed three ways: first on a small picture card held close to the camera by Aurora La Veglia, teaching assistant. Next, the actual object is displayed in front of a neutral background by Emily Taborda-Monroe, job coach, and finally the word or concept is signed using American Sign Language by Alicia Tardiff, occupational therapist.
Originally the brainchild of Taborda-Monroe, the execution of the game was further refined by Taborda-Monroe and Andrea Covelli, a teacher in Deafblind, as they began to imagine how it could work with Zoom.
“We try to make the game accessible in whatever mode students use — print, picture symbols, braille, objects,” says Covelli. “Parents of students who use objects often collect them ahead of time so they can be labeled and shown to their child as their child plays.”
Students, who play with a parent or another adult close by as a communications partner, scan their card for the item and mark their card if they find it. Before the game begins though, students and teachers greet one another enthusiastically, with teachers asking students questions about their day, their home projects and offering encouragement. Student Micah greeted fellow student Dylan, who responded by using his “talker”—the name he and his family use for the Touch Chat feature on his iPad.
In the first round Cinco de Mayo was called and Tardiff noted that students had made maracas with her as a weekly occupational therapy art activity. Student Hannah, playing with mom Heidi, had her maraca handy and shook it gleefully for her fellow competitors. T-shirt, iPad, Kentucky derby (represented with a fancy hat), cookout (a spatula), chalk and bubbles completed the round, with Noa and Hannah both signaling BINGO! on bubbles. Everyone celebrated their victories and Aurora held up a sign congratulating them for winning bingo.
A teacher holds a spatula.
Several rounds later, the field had thinned to Hannah playing head to head against her mother, Heidi.
“Game on, girlfriend,” Heidi said. And indeed it was, game on.