Those of you who follow my blog know that I absolutely adore the “Between the Lines” app series by Hamaguchi apps, which focuses on targeting aspects of social language including tone of voice and non-verbal body language, perspective taking as well as idiom interpretation. I have already reviewed Levels 2 as well as Advanced, HERE and HERE, previously on my blog, so today I will be reviewing level 1, which is the simplest version in the the series geared towards “social beginners” .
Much like the other versions of this app, Level 1 uses photos and mini videos to target the following skills:
- Interpretation of vocal tone
- Recognition of facial expressions
- Interpretation of body language as well as
- Recognition of idiomatic expressions and slang
In “Settings“, enter the students names and decide whether you want to run individual or group sessions. Then don’t forget to modify the following options:
In ‘Activities” select which activities you want to target. You can focus on just one or randomize the stimuli presentation to include all three:
- Listening and Facial Expressions
- Body Language and Perspective Taking
- Expressions, Idioms, and Slang
Here you can also choose whether you want to include or leave out slang choices such as (“pain in the butt”, “ticked off”, “that sucks”, etc.) as well as the order of activities. You can also select whether you want the student to advance to the next task automatically or manually.
In “Encouragement” you can select how frequently the student receives praise for correct responses, as well as whether you would like to keep the bell sound for correct responses.
In “Answer Choices” you can decrease or increase the complexity of answers by offering the students the choices of 2, 3, or 4 answers (the more choices, the more difficult it is to figure out the answer). You can also display choices automatically or manually, especially if you want the student to formulate their response first without the benefit of visuals, before receiving help in the form of written choices.
There are also 3 choices of games the clinicians can choose from to periodically reinforce clients, you can do it as frequently as you’d like such as after answering each question or after answering 10 questions. You can also choose the option of not using any reward games.
The listening tasks involve an off screen speaker saying phrases or a sentences in a particular tone of voice (e.g., the girl in the picture below stated “I put it away in the closet”) and expressed a particular emotion (e.g., irritation). Then several choices of photos appear on the screen and the student is asked, “Who said that? The student then has to select a photograph depicting the facial expression which best matches the voice.
As an expansion activity for this task, I also ask the student to elaborate on his/her answers. This includes asking him/her negative questions (e.g., “Why didn’t you choose ________?” to explain why they didn’t select other choices) as well as justify their answer by indicating which clues aided him/her in their decision making process (verbal critical thinking task).
The body language tasks involve watching a short video-clips showing a variety of social interactions and situations. The student is expected to look at the choices of responses and select the one that best matches the facial expression and body language of the person in the picture. For example in the below video, the girl brought a gift for a younger girl (not pictured below) and told her “I hope you like it”. However, the younger girl put her gift on the table with the others without opening it and started talking about the cupcakes she had at her party. The video then ends with the older girl looking hurt and a voice asks: “What is she thinking?”
Finally, the expressions tasks involve short video-clips showing a person speaking a sentence which contains idiomatic expressions or slang: “pain in the butt.” The student is then asked, “What does that mean?”
The SLP can increase or decrease question/answer complexity by offering the client choices of 2 to 4 responses as can be seen above. As with the other versions up to 75 users can use the app individually or as a group. After session completion the results are saved but can also be emailed to parent or SLP for their records.
I also really like the fact that Hamaguchi Associates has a list of Extension Activities for this app which can be found HERE. These include:
- Make the Facial Expression – ask the student to listen to the voice (without seeing the photo) and attempt to demonstrate the expected facial expression.
- Describe the Emotion – what emotion do you hear in the voice?
- Create a vocabulary bank (written and photos) to aid more impaired students in coming up with ideas
- Match the Expression – ask the student to listen to the audio clip and repeat what was said by matching the intonation, pace and words as closely as possible
- Wrong Choice Reflection
- Justify why these photos are the “wrong choices”
- Explain what the people in the photos might be thinking
- Guess it – guess the correct answer without the benefit of multiple choice options
- Act it Out – use the same body language, facial expressions and script to act out same scenes in groups
- Generalize- walk around the school and try to figure out what the people you see around you are thinking?
- Review it – use the idiomatic expressions in sentences to solidify their meanings
- Have the child create a folder where they could keep track of all the new idioms and slang they’ve learned for periodic review
- Match it – match idioms written on index cards with their respective meanings
- Find more – online, TV, magazines, etc.
I’ve used this app selectively with students as young as 5 years of age with excellent results. My students and I had a lot of fun using it and so can you. You can find it on iTunes for $15.99 or thanks to the folks over at Hamaguchi Apps you can enter my Rafflecopter giveaway for a chance of winning your very own copy.