Audio & Braille Literacy Enhancement, Vision Forward Association, the Wisconsin Talking Book and Braille Library and the Milwaukee Public Museum, in cooperation with the Milwaukee and suburban school districts, once again collaborated to host Braille Games in March of 2018. Braille Games strengthens literacy skills through creative and recreational activities by pairing experienced, braille literate adults with children from the Greater Milwaukee area who are learning braille. Blind and visually impaired children explored the Native American exhibits. They participated in interactive braille games that were integrated into the four areas: Plains, Woodlands, Southwest and Pacific Northwest. In the Wisconsin Woodlands, children played bingo. A museum staff person introduced the Wisconsin Woodlands and showcased tactiles such as baskets, arrowheads and wild rice.
Each student was then given a 9-square brailled bingo card and tokens. Each square contained a word from something the educator showed or talked about. The blind adult mentor picked a card from a deck and read the word. The students placed a token on the corresponding square until someone had 3 in a row and yelled BINGO!
In the Pacific Northwest, a museum staff person introduced life in that area and talked about the importance of the totem pole. There was a replica of a carved totem pole for students to feel and discuss. With the help from the mentors, children created a story about what their family’s totem pole would look like. Students then rotated through the other two areas. Over 75 students, volunteers and staff from each organization enjoyed a full day of fun and activity.
Each child wrote a story about their family totem pole. Here is an example: “I will carve my family animal, an eagle, because we are brave like eagles. And I will also carve a fish. For fun my family likes to swim so I will carve a shark. Our favorite meal is shrimp and the steps I will carve on my totem pole are, grab the shrimp, boil the shrimp, wait for it to be done, then eat the shrimp.”