Tuesday, April 20, 2021

A Little Motivation Goes a Long Way

I have been doing social groups through teletherapy since March of last year. For absolutely everyone involved, in the context of this very looooong situation and too much online learning, it wears. So we need to keep it targeted and focused but find new ways to induce fun and flow. 

Lately I have found a double-purpose in acquiring some of the Jackbox games. If you have not used them, Jackbox's games are in the "party" genre but tap many communication skills. Players join a game via a browser tab or the browser on their mobile devices, navigating to jackbox.tv and putting in a code to join the room. The double-purpose is that the games are fun for you as a family or adult friends gathering in person or online as well.

Jackbox games are available through "Packs" of games or some individually. I generally use these through Zoom by running Steam, a free gaming platform which allows the purchase of games (Share Screen>Desktop is the best way to go in Zoom). It's also possible to purchase through your Apple TV and/or iPad and show your iPad screen to run the game. 

Some games I have found useful in teletherapy, particularly because they are satisfying enough for the group when you run just one round (10-12 min):

The Devils and the Details (Jackbox Party Pack 7): players are a family of demons who are forced to live in suburbia and complete cooperative chores toward a common goal. Great for accompanying with discussion of taking on chores at home. Here one player verbally helps another with fixing the TV:


Drawful (any version): Interpret a descriptive phrase with a sketch and then players interpret you in turn:


Quiplash (also several versions): Kind of a phrase-completion Apples to Apples, but all get to vote. Great for targeting use of humor and strategies like incongruity, randomness and irony:


Also see Patently Stupid (Jackbox 5) we rename it in the group!) which is about "inventing" items to solve problems, writing taglines (main idea) and again, voting.

A few tips:
-Besides the one above about how to show the game, you will want to go into the settings of any game before playing with a group. It is a good idea to turn on family friendly mode and lower the volume significantly so that everyone doesn't get drowned out if doing in teletherapy.
-Your district may block Steam over wifi, so while it may be on your machine, you may not be able to activate it in your building. I ran it over my phone's hotspot and that worked fine.
-The games move fast! Many have archive features so you can view and laugh again about (with time to process the language "oh, that was a great example of...") everyone's turns. You can also screenshot during the game.
-I like to use the strategy of "planning for problems" (Social Thinking®) lingo- discussing what could go wrong and what thinking strategies might help the students, which turns the game into a true lesson.


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