Social Thinking...and a freebie!

Curriculum is one of the biggest challenges when it comes to teaching social skills in a non-standardized special education class.  First off, there is very little curriculum available.  Second, there's even less that focuses solely on social/life skills.  Third, often times it's not the type of thing you can take as it is and start implementing right away.  As a result, teachers end up spending hours creating appropriate materials to cater to their students.  We might as well be the ones selling this stuff for an arm and a leg like the curriculum companies do.
I'm not going to say that Social Thinking is a curriculum that you can take as it is without any prep work.  However, I have found it so easy to adapt it to my students.  Not only that, many aspects of the books are easy to link to ELA/Literacy.
Before I go further, some of you may be asking what Social Think is.  Social Thinking is a curriculum created by Michelle Garcia-Winner.   The Social Thinking curriculum is really freaking good at breaking down those super tricky social skills and giving them easy to understand rationale.  So many social skills are really difficult (or at least difficult for me) to explain to my students in those black and white terms that our kids with autism need.
So it goes without saying how much of a lifesaver the Social Thinking curriculum has been for me. My students love the book "You are a Social Detective", which we read regularly.  Not only do they love it, they have been carrying over the ideas from the books to what is going on in the classroom.  Whenever somebody does something they're not supposed to do, one of the other students is always nearby to say "that is SO unexpected!"
Here are just some of the easy but super effective activities we have done so far:

We learned about "expected" and "unexpected" behaviors (which personally, I think is a heck of a lot better than explaining behaviors as "good" and "bad", amiright?)  Before Thanksgiving, we watched "Charlie Brown Thanksgiving".  The students cut out red and green squares and labeled them "expected" and "unexpected".  As we watched, we held up our "expected" signs when we saw expected behaviors and "unexpected" signs when we saw the characters do something unexpected.
Read about how I use "You Are a Social Detective" in my classroom to teach expected and unexpected behaviors, how our behaviors make others feel, and more.



We discussed "thinking with our eyes" and how to make predictions about what others are going to do next. 
Read about how I use "You Are a Social Detective" in my classroom to teach expected and unexpected behaviors, how our behaviors make others feel, and more.


Most recently, we have been discussing how our behaviors might make others feel.  We cut out hearts and different feelings to show how we feel when we see certain expected/unexpected behaviors.

Like I said, it's so easy to brainstorm activities to go with the curriculum.  That's why I just have to leave you guys with this freebie!  I also have a whole Pinterest board full of other great ideas.  If you use the Social Thinking curriculum, let me know!  I would love to hear your ideas and activities!

Read about how I use "You Are a Social Detective" in my classroom to teach expected and unexpected behaviors, how our behaviors make others feel, and more.


4 comments

  1. I love this freebie and the different possibilities that could be used with it. Encouraging children to think about expected and unexpected behavior, and the impact it has on others is so powerful!

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  2. This is a great way to teach children about expected and unexpected behaviors. Wonderful product and thanks for offering it as a freebie!

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  3. Hi

    Where did you get the situation cards shown in the first activity? I am on a hunt to build this type of resource for the students at my school.

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    1. Hey Sara! I actually inherited them from a guidance counselor when she was retiring a few years ago. Perhaps Lakeshore Learning sells something similar? Sorry I couldn't be more helpful!

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