Sunday, February 9, 2014

Speechy Sunday: Complex Sentences and Candyland!

A few weeks ago, I used a neat version of "Candyland" in my speech sessions, and it worked so well that I wanted to share it. 

Many of my students are working on learning to use complex sentences.  (Grammar review:  Complex sentences have a subordinate clause that can't stand alone.  For example, in "Because I was hungry, I ate lunch,"  the "Because I was hungry" part is the subordinate clause--it can't stand alone.  So, that sentence is complex.)  Many kiddos with speech/language disorders tend to stick with simple sentences to communicate, but it's hard to express complicated ideas using just simple sentences, so it's important to help them learn to use complex sentences. 

But back to the fun part. 

I love to play Candyland with my students, but I use the "fast version" of the game.  Did you know there's a fast version?  In the fast version, each player picks two cards on their turn, and then chooses which card to use to move forward on the board.  Also, there are NO "backsies," so if you choose a card that would send you backwards, you just choose again.  I like this version of the game because if you ask the children to tell you why they chose the higher card, they have to use a complex sentence.  (ex:  "I chose this card, because it will move me further.").  It also makes the game go more quickly so we can finish it in one 30 minute speech session.  Also, to give my students even more practice with complex sentences, I instituted a "Since" rule.  Before a student can move their game-piece, they have to say this sentence: 

"Since I got (two blues), I will move (two blues)." 

Most of my students are English Language Learners, and this long complex sentence can be a challenge, so I use a sentence frame visual aid for them.  You can see it in the photo above.  In just one 30-minute game, my students get to repeatedly practice two types of complex sentences in a real-life context--first when they choose which card to use (ex: "I choose the double green card, because it will move me farthest."), and then when they follow my "since" rule (ex:  "Since I got double green, I will move two greens."). 

If you play Candyland now and then with your students or children (or nieces, nephews, grandkids, neighbors, etc.), try the "fast version," and see if they know how to make the decision about which card is the better choice, and if they can tell you why.  It's great to teach decision-making and the concepts of less/more and distance.  Also, see if they can use these great complex sentences on their own, or if they need a model to use them.  And if they can't yet, don't worry--the more they imitate your well-formed sentences, the more they will learn to use them on their own. 

What's your favorite board game?


  1. My favorites are Chutes and Ladders and TiddlyWinks.

  2. Fun! I love Chutes & Ladders, too! :)

  3. thanks for sharing this fun way to work on complex sentences!