An Interview with Clint Johnson: Going to the Dogs? Or Having a Party with the Pups?

Nov 28, 2011 by

Michael F. Shaughnessy
Eastern New Mexico University
Portales, New Mexico

1)      Clint, you, Sharon Webber, Renée G. Blaker, and Karen Aspden have this fantastic new game called Party Pups. Who came up with this idea and how do you play it?

This was a collaborative effort. Renée and Karen submitted the idea for a preposition game with a dog theme. Sharon and I came up with the idea for integrating photos with illustrations and Sharon also came up with the party theme.

To play, students pick a game board that has their favorite type of dog on it (poodle, bulldog, corgi, etc.). Then they take turns choosing preposition cards, identifying the preposition on the cards, and using them in sentences. Players spin the electronic spinner and collect doggie treats which they place on their game boards. The player with the most doggie treats wins.

2)      Clint, in perusing the game, I see you refer to it as “prepositional fun,” but I see a lot of concepts in this game being taught—am I off on this?

In addition to teaching 24 prepositions, Party Pups also teaches sentence formulation and targets vocabulary. It is also great for improving reasoning skills because students can create multiple sentences using the same picture.

3)      I see that the game attempts to get kids to create phrases and sentences. Would this game help kids with expressive language problems or delays?

Definitely. Many children with expressive language delays and/or learning disabilities have difficulty understanding and using prepositions correctly, especially spatial concepts like near, far, and between.

4)      I also see that the prepositions are in three different contexts. Is this for generalization or what?

The three different contexts give the child multiple opportunities to use the same preposition with different vocabulary words.

5)      It seems that verb tense is also included in this game. How does that work?

One of the ways you can play this game is to ask the child to create a sentence using a past, present, or future tense verb. You could say to the child, “Tell me what this dog did yesterday,” or ask, “What will the dog do tomorrow?”

6)      Is this game for speech-language pathologists only or can teachers and parents use it?

This is not just for speech-language pathologists. I think teachers and parents will love playing this game in the classroom or at home.

7)      Do you think it might make a great present for the holidays?

Yes. This is an educational game that children will find very entertaining. Party Pups is appropriate for dog lovers of all ages. It is a great family game that encourages creative communication

8)   Where can people get more information

Go to and search for “Party Pups” to see some sample cards or to view a short Show Me How Video.

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