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


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!


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. 






About mhkeiger

I am a Social Learning Specialist and owner of Ausomely Social LLC. I have presented at the Social Thinking Providers Conference. I received my bachelor's degree in English from Salem College and my master's degree in Cross-Categorical Education from the University of North Carolina - Greensboro. I am a long-term member of the Autism Society of North Carolina. I was awarded Professional of the Year by the Autism Society of North Carolina in 2003. I have over 29 years of extensive training and experience in the area of social skills.

2 responses »

  1. Thanks for a great blog post, I love it! It made me think about great holiday commercial I saw that aligns with the concept of the social fake perfectly(search youtube for #giftface ).


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s