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. 


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.)


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!


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.

5 responses »

  1. Totally love all of your Star Wars ideas!! Can’t wait to use them with my Star Wars obsessed boys.


  2. Hi, do you know why the video is unavailable?


  3. Keriann Kimball says:

    What did you use the force field button for?


  4. mhkeiger says:

    The force field button was just a fun prop I pressed at the start of the activity. I played other Star Wars songs on my phone when they were following the leader with the Star Wars style movements. I have other buttons that you can record voices, says “that was easy”, or plays funny sounds. If you have a small group, sound buttons can be a fun way to acknowledge a correct answer. But, I would use caution with sound buttons. I often have to put away my buttons as the children get too excited and the group falls apart. Thanks for reading!


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