Mission #1: Social Wonder

Our Superhero Training Academy is working hard on defeating the Unthinkable Un-Wonderer©!

This group loves building with Legos so part of their challenge was to build a Lego heart as they practiced asking each other questions about things they remember they like. We had a lot of fun learning more Social Thinking® strategies to help others feel good by showing interest in them.

Way to go, Superheroes!

*For more information about Un-Wonderer, please go to www.socialthinking.com. Superflex® and the Unthinkables© were developed and copyrighted by Michelle Garcia Winner and Stephanie Madrigal.

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“Alexa, Add to my List!” Social Learning Books for Children

 

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In honor of Amazon Prime day, here a just a few idea lists for children’s books I created for social learning, mindfulness, growth mindset, and more! Be sure to check back often as I am constantly adding to my bookshelf. For more information, click here:

 

 

 

Here’s a start to my list. Happy reading!

Whole Body Listening

Mindfulness

Growth Mindset

Making Mistakes

We Thinkers!

Zones of Regulation

Flexible Thinking

YouCue Feelings

Executive Functioning

Social Thinking Core Concepts

Superflex

Friendship

Social Filter

 

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Don’t you love sticky notes for talking about thoughts and feelings using books or YouTube videos? Anna Vagin’s “YouCue Feelings” will give you lots of ideas, too!

 

 

Do you have a favorite book you use in your social learning groups? Please share!

♥Mary

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Brain Board Reflections

IMG_4454.jpgOne of the amazing things about attending the Annual Social Thinking® Global Providers’ Conference are all the fun and engaging strategies you can take right back to the classroom or your social learning group. This summer, my group explored making Brain Boards, an idea presented by Nancy Clements of Social Thinking Boston. Brain Boards are a great way to learn more about your brain and encourage positive self-esteem. After reviewing emotional vocabulary and discussing several clips from the movie Inside Out, we talked about our strengths and some tools that can help us with self-awareness and self-regulation. We even added our own Personality Islands to the Brain Board. This project is a work in progress and some of the children also used the board as a reflection of all the thoughts and feelings going on inside their head. Next steps will include more on self-talk and ways we can get reset. Building a growth mindset and resiliency is such an important step in social problem solving.

For more information, be sure to check out this article by Michelle Garcia Winner, founder and CEO of Social Thinking®: 5 Teaching Ideas Connected to Pixar’s Movie Inside Out

Hope to see you at the next Social Thinking conference!

Best,

Mary

Group lesson was inspired by Social Thinking®, Superflex®, and The Incredible Flexible You™ curriculums by Michelle Garcia Winner, CCC-SLP and by The Zones of Regulation®, by Leah Kuypers, MA. The Zones of Regulation is a curriculum geared toward helping students gain skills in consciously regulating their actions, which in turn leads to increased control and problem-solving abilities. Social Thinking® is a term coined by Michelle Garcia Winner and represents a coordinated teaching framework of curricula, vocabulary, teaching tools and strategies for individuals aged preschool through adults. Learn more at www.socialthinking.com. 

 

Jedi Detectives Read Nonverbal Cues

Obsessed with Star Wars, you are. Even my detectives had Jedi training this week to learn about reading nonverbal cues. 

The detectives always start group with some Mindful breathing. This week we did Darth Vader breathing or Ujjayi Breath in yoga. In this breath practice, you inhale and exhale through the nose making a noise like Darth Vader in the back of your throat during the exhalation. The Ujjayi breath creates heat, and this heat is said to release all of the toxins from the body and mind. The next time your detective is getting a little anxious or upset, try cuing them to take some Darth Vader breaths.

For our first mission, we watched a cute commercial for Volkswagen. In this commercial, a child in a Darth Vader costume tries to use the “force” to move items in his home including his dog, the dryer, and even a baby doll. We can’t see little Darth Vader’s face, but we can use our detective skills to wonder what he is feeling and what he is thinking based on his body language. Little Darth Vader isn’t very successful using his “force”, but he keeps trying despite his disappointment. How did Darth Vader feel when he tried to use the force one more time on his dad’s new car? Here’s the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1n6hf3adNqk

Another activity we did to increase their knowledge of nonverbal language was a version of the Hot and Cold Game to find the hidden Star Wars characters. I pretended that I had lost my voice, so the detectives had to look at my face to see if they were getting warmer or getting colder in their search for the characters. I smiled and nodded when they got close to the object, and frowned and shook my head when they were getting farther away.  

Next, we played a variation of the game “ Follow the Leader.” One agent pulled out a stick from a bag with an action that a Star Wars character might do. For example, the instructions might say, “move like C3-PO.” Then they got to move across the room as a group, copying the movement of their leader. 

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Force Field button, Star Wars action game, and Star Wars Lego minifigures for the Hot and Cold game.

For our last mission, each detective was given a pool noodle lightsaber. Their mission was to work with their team to keep a balloon afloat (we named him Darth Vader since it was a black balloon). Of course, they had to use their eyes to think about the group mission and movement of the other detectives. They practiced reading the nonverbal cues and intent of the other detectives. thumb_IMG_2645_1024

Our Jedi Detectives needed to cool down a bit after all their hard work. We ended group with some Lazy 8 Breathing using our lightsabers in the air. (Lazy 8 Breathing can be found in the Zones of Regulation book by Leah Kupyers.)

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For additional resources, be sure to check out You are a Social Detective! by Michelle Garcia Winner and Pamela Crooke and the You are a Social Detective Beginner App! 

May the Force be with You!

Mary

Group lesson was inspired by Social Thinking®, Superflex®, and The Incredible Flexible You™ curriculums by Michelle Garcia Winner, CCC-SLP and by The Zones of Regulation®, by Leah Kuypers, MA. The Zones of Regulation is a curriculum geared toward helping students gain skills in consciously regulating their actions, which in turn leads to increased control and problem-solving abilities. Social Thinking® is a term coined by Michelle Garcia Winner and represents a coordinated teaching framework of curricula, vocabulary, teaching tools and strategies for individuals aged preschool through adults. Learn more at www.socialthinking.com. 

 

Zones Triggers and Operation Star Wars

IMG_2609Caution! Fun day learning about Social Thinking®! Today I had students reflect on their Zones® and their “triggers” while we played Operation Star Wars. We learned in the Zones of Regulation® curriculum that triggers are things or thoughts that make you feel worried, upset, or frustrated. If you want others to have good thoughts about you, you need to use caution when you encounter a trigger. It’s time to pause and use a tool or strategy to get you back in the Green Zone. If you aren’t familiar with the Zones of Regulation,  it is a wonderful curriculum by Leah Kuypers that provides strategies to teach students self-regulation.  Please go to http://www.zonesofregulation.com/ for more information.

Now, back to our game….

In the Star Wars edition of the classic Operation game, players are helping C-3PO and R2-D2 with some defective droid parts. Players find a Pain in the Neck, a Bad Memory Module, a Cranky Crankshaft, etc.. Our Zones twist to this game opened with a discussion about how we all have times when we are needing a little tune-up just like C-3PO and R2-D2.

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As they took turns, the students shared some of the triggers that moves them out of the Green Zone. Some of the triggers my students came up with were:

  • Schedule change.
  • Too much work to do.
  • Other students being disruptive and disrespectful.
  • Confusion.
  • Someone is in my personal space.
  • Being told “no.”

Once they shared a trigger, they wrote the trigger on a sticky note and put it on our Zones Trigger poster (available at www.socialthinking.com).

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We talked about the need to create some space between the event and your reaction. If your reaction is big, you may be sending a message that will make others treat you badly in return. Crossing your arms, making an angry face, or yelling makes other people feel uncomfortable and they may not be very friendly towards you.

Our last step was to share (before we took a turn operating) strategies or tools we could use to get back to the Green Zone.

 

 

 

Some strategies my students use are:

  • Breathe deeply.
  • Drink water.
  • Color a picture (currently we are loving the ZenThoughts Coloring Book. 
  • Imagining a peaceful spot.
  • Talk to an adult.
  • Read
  • Take a break in a quiet space.

I reminded my group that Yoda says,

“You will know (the good from the bad) when you are calm, at peace.”

Peace,

Mary

Social Thinking® is a term coined by Michelle Garcia Winner and represents a coordinated teaching framework of curricula, vocabulary, teaching tools and strategies for individuals aged preschool through adults. Learn more at www.socialthinking.com. To learn more about the Zones of Regulation®, go to https://www.socialthinking.com/Products/Zones%20of%20Regulation and http://www.zonesofregulation.com/.

 

The Zones and R2-D2 Trouble Game

unnamedWith the upcoming release of the new Star Wars movie,  I was motivated to incorporate the theme into my social learning groups. We had a blast playing the new Star Wars R2-D2 is in Trouble Game. Before each player took a turn, they answered a Zones of Regulation® problem-solving question.

If you aren’t familiar with the Zones of Regulation,  it is a wonderful curriculum by Leah Kuypers that provides strategies to teach students self-regulation.  Please go to http://www.zonesofregulation.com/ for more information.

We read different scenarios and discussed what Zone the person is likely in, a calming strategy, the size of the problem, and how you could solve the problem. Of course, you could just play the Trouble game to practice taking turns, counting and handling disappointment. We also talked about different comments you could say during the game such as “Lucky!”, “Bummer.”, or “Bye-Bye” in a friendly teasing voice when you are sending a player back home. 

Although the game itself may not be as sturdy as the original Trouble game, I do recommend getting it. The game has some very exciting features and a few new rules. There is a little R2D2 figure inside the pop bubble with the die and an electronic sound chip that makes several different R2D2 sounds each time you pop. My students loved the sound effects and the anticipation to see if R2-D2 is left standing as you get an extra turn. The game pieces have stickers you put on them, each color consisting of a different “team” of Star Wars characters.

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The Zones just announced a new Zones App to come out this Spring!  I can’t wait to use it. I love the first Zones of Regulation App. Here’s a video preview for the Exploring Emotions App: 

Stay tuned for more Star Wars inspired Social Thinking® activities and May the Force be with You!

-Mary

Group lesson was inspired by Social Thinking®, Superflex®, and The Incredible Flexible You™ curriculums by Michelle Garcia Winner, CCC-SLP and by The Zones of Regulation®, by Leah Kuypers, MA. The Zones of Regulation is a curriculum geared toward helping students gain skills in consciously regulating their actions, which in turn leads to increased control and problem solving abilities. Social Thinking® is a term coined by Michelle Garcia Winner and represents a coordinated teaching framework of curricula, vocabulary, teaching tools and strategies for individuals aged preschool through adults. Learn more at www.socialthinking.com. 

 

 

 

Doing the Social Fake this Holiday

 

FullSizeRender (3)This time of year, I like to put a dash of holiday magic into my social learning groups. One of my favorite activities is one I do to work on the strategy called “Social Fake.” The Social Fake is a strategy you use when you keep you keep your feelings on the inside in order to keep someone having good thoughts about us. In the classroom, you use the Social Fake to survive the boring moments. Even though you would love to take a nap, you try to pay attention by sitting up, looking at the teacher, and asking questions. It’s also important to know about the Social Fake when talking with your peers. Showing interest in their interest (even if it not exciting to you) will create a positive impression. The Social Fake is something everyone does because we know how it will make OTHERS feel if we let them know with our words or body language how WE truly feel. This holiday season you probably will get at least one gift that you don’t really like. Just remember the Social Fake strategy and keep your feelings of disappointment inside. For more information about Social Fake, visit http://www.socialthinking.com. Social Thinking® is a term coined by Michelle Garcia Winner and represents a coordinated teaching framework of curricula, vocabulary, teaching tools and strategies for individuals aged preschool through adults. Learn more at www.socialthinking.com. 

Now for the Social Fake game.

Have the children sit in an open circle. Each child will take turns giving a fake present to the others. I use a wrapped box with a lid that they can dramatically open. As they hand the box to the other child, they say something like, “Happy Holidays, Bob! This year, I got you a ______.” Then the recipient takes off the lid and pretends to absolutely love the wacky gift that they just received.

My older students usually have me in stitches with this game. Here are a few of the funniest moments we’ve had with this game:

  • “Sue, you have been such a great friend to me this year. I wanted to give you my left shoe so that we can be twins.” (Christa has put her left shoe in the box while we closed our eyes.)
  • “Sam, I know you really like gum, so I found some gum under the desks at school that you might like. Happy holidays!” Sam pretended to reach inside and pull out a piece of all-ready-chewed gum and popping it into his mouth announcing, “I love Double Bubble grape! Thanks!”
  • “Nicholas, I remembered that you love dinosaurs. I see you are wearing a T-Rex shirt right now. So, I hope you will love this pet dinosaur I got you!” Nicholas then opened the box with great anticipation and pretended to be attacked by the dinosaur.

This Social Fake Present game really works on many Social Thinking® concepts and strategies- social fake, thinking of others, expected and unexpected behaviors when receiving a gift you don’t like, people files, smart guess vs. wacky guess, flexible thinking, creative thinking, and even humor. I hope your kiddos enjoy this game as much as mine do!

Here are some other ideas to add to your Social Fake Holiday lesson:

Be sure to check out Social Thinking Thinksheets for Tweens and Teens by Michelle Garcia Winner. There is a very helpful Thinksheet in this book about doing the Social Fake when you receive a gift that you don’t like. Social Thinking Thinksheets Tweens and Teens http://www.socialthinking.com/Products/9781936943166

If your group is working on Superflex and the Unthinkables, you may want to take a look at the Unthinkable “Holiday Boulder” from the book Superflex: Social Town Citizens Discover 82 New Unthinkables for Superflex to Outsmart! Holiday Boulder gets people stuck on ALL their holiday traditions and won’t let any new plans change those traditions.

Social Town Citizens Discover 82 New Unthinkables for Superflex to Outsmart

http://www.socialthinking.com/Products/Superflex%20Social%20Town%20Citizens%20Discover%2082%20New%20Unthinkables%20for%20Superflex%20to%20Outsmart

Social Thinking recently posted this video on their YouTube channel called “Holiday Wishes.” It’s a wonderful reminder for parents to give the gifts that your children really want.                          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SQMOnknlyM8

Here are some other YouTube videos I use for Social Fake this time of year:

A Christmas Story: The Pink Bunny Costume

Big Bang Theory Gifts Giving

 

Kid President’s Holiday Gift Guide

Jimmy Kimmel I Gave My Kids a Terrible Present

Peyton Manning Christmas Gift Finder Bloopers

Clark Freaks Out- Christmas Vacation

How about you? What do you do with your groups to focus on Social Fake?

Happy Holidays!

Mary

Group lesson was inspired by Social Thinking®, Superflex®, and The Incredible Flexible You™ curriculums by Michelle Garcia Winner, CCC-SLP and by The Zones of Regulation®, by Leah Kuypers, MA. The Zones of Regulation is a curriculum geared toward helping students gain skills in consciously regulating their actions, which in turn leads to increased control and problem-solving abilities. Social Thinking® is a term coined by Michelle Garcia Winner and represents a coordinated teaching framework of curricula, vocabulary, teaching tools and strategies for individuals aged preschool through adults. Learn more at www.socialthinking.com. 

 

 

 

 

ISHI- Our new rock friend!

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My social learning groups loved this new book called ISHI, Simple Tips from a Solid Friend by Akiko Yabuki earlier this school year. This cute picture book features a little rock named ISHI who encourages others to choose and share happiness. My students really enjoyed the adorable pictures (adults will, too). After we read the story, we made our own rock friends that could spread some kindness. To purchase your copy of ISHI, please go to http://www.ishitherock.com/purchase-a-book/ishi-simple-tips-from-a-solid-friend-picture-book. On the ISHI website, you will find a fantastic activity guide to with the book. With the permission from the author, I added my own twist to ISHI’s activity guide and you can get it FREE here! Make your own ISHI Activities.

My group also enjoyed watching these video clips to go along with the theme of spreading happiness.

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And who doesn’t enjoy Kid President?

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Here’s what one of my students said makes him feel happy. The candy was just a little something he wanted to add to his picture since it makes him happy, too!. Hope you enjoy the book as much as I do!

-Mary
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