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Meaningful and Fun Social Groups for Students Grades K-12

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Presentation on theme: "Meaningful and Fun Social Groups for Students Grades K-12"— Presentation transcript:

1 Meaningful and Fun Social Groups for Students Grades K-12
Julie Balderston and Amanda Stenberg


To tolerate people and value interactions. To communicate intentionally and effectively. To organize information and learn meanings/purposes. To tolerate change and accept new experiences. To be independent of constant verbal direction. To self-monitor and manage stress/emotion. To identify sensory triggers and self- regulate in in an appropriate manner.

4 Differentiating between Behaviorism and Cognitive Behaviorism
Focuses on the end point of the behavior performed or exhibited. COGNITIVE-BEHAVIORISM Focuses on the thinking that contributes to the behavior, and then describes how your behavior should change.

5 Social Cognition vs. Social Skills Both are needed!
Behavioral Social Communication Skills Verbal (pragmatics) Conversation, greetings Social scripts Narrative skills Non-verbal Interpreting & using facial expressions, eye contact body language, tone of voice Joint attention Other social behaviors Expected/unexpected behavior for different contexts Manners Sharing, turn-taking Appropriate physical space Cognitive Social Communication Skills Theory of Mind Perspective taking Tracking what others know/think Self-monitoring Understanding social situations Central Coherence Processing information as a whole Relating pieces of info back to larger patterns thought/behavior Executive Function Flexible thinking Social problem-solving Creating organizational structures Prioritizing Emotional regulation

6 Four Steps of Communication to Become a Social Thinker
1) Think about people and what they think and feel. 2) Be aware of your physical presence as well as the physical presence of others. 3) Use your eyes to think about others and what they are thinking about. 4) Use your language to relate to others. USE YOUR BRAIN, EYES, BODY AND WORDS TO MAKE CONNECTIONS! Thinking About You Thinking About Me, Michelle Garcia Winner

7 What do students with social cognitive and self-regulation deficits need?
1) Direct instruction to prevent social mishaps & meltdowns. 2) Direct instruction and problem-solving to learn from social mishaps & meltdowns after they occur. 3) Opportunities to practice with typically developing peers in different environments. Coaching Reinforcement 4) Incorporation and use of social thinking and self-regulation vocabulary across contexts.


9 Assessing Baseline Skills and Monitoring Progress
1) Checklists/rating scales 2) Observation in natural settings Just see what happens Can set-up a situation to probe for specific skill 3) Observation in small, unstructured groups Can do this the first time the group meets Video record if possible 4) Teacher and/or parent interviews 5) Student interview 6) Student self-report

10 Other Resources for Assessment
Building Social Relationships by Scott Bellini Thinking About You Thinking About Me by Michelle Garcia Winner Jill Kuzma’s SLP Social & Emotional Skill Sharing Site: -of-pragmatics-and-social-language/ Other social skills curricula have assessment tools that align with lessons


12 Methods for Social Instruction
The following methods can be utilized to create a personalized social skills instruction program or to supplement commercially-available social skills curricula. 1) TALKING/DISCUSSION 2) WORKSHEETS 3) CONCRETE/VISUAL SUPPORTS Social Behavior Maps 5 Point Scale, Problem thermometer Friendship Peer-a-mid Conversation Tree Social Stories Graphic organizers, strategy lists Physical items that represent abstract concepts

Comic strip scenarios (drawings or photos) Over your head Picture books/magazines/flashcards/paused video image 5) STORIES/BOOKS Picture books – fiction and non-fiction Chapter books – fiction and non-fiction Scenarios 6) VIDEO Commercially-made social skills videos You-tube Movie and cartoon clips Make your own Role play Record students for self-evaluation Watch typical peers

14 8) ROLE PLAY/SIMULATION (with or without scripts)
7) TECHNOLOGY Interactive software iPad applications Power Point presentations, Smart Boards 8) ROLE PLAY/SIMULATION (with or without scripts) 9) GROUP ACTIVITIES/TASKS Cooperative or competitive Theater games 10) NATURALISTIC OPPORTUNTIES FOR PRACTICE Play with toys Games Conversation Party or snack Incidental planning or problem-solving “Field trip” or practice in a natural environment

15 Key Concepts to Teach and Reinforce
1) Ready/not ready 2) People have different kinds of smarts 3) How to be part of a group 4) Eyes are important – yours and others’ 5) Expected behavior leads to good/green thoughts. Unexpected behavior leads to uncomfortable/red thoughts. 6) Our bodies and faces send messages (non-verbal communication) 7) Social thinking is flexible thinking 8) Problems and feelings come in different sizes

16 9) People store and recall information about each other (social files)
10) Conversation is made up of questions and thoughts 11) There are different levels of relationship between people 12) Make a plan: Solving problems Self-regulation (emotions and alertness) Completing tasks Making schedules, managing time Self –advocacy, asking for help Organizing environment Being social

KEY CONCEPTS: Ready/not ready Problems and feelings come in different sizes Make a plan

18 Three critical neurological components need to be integrated:
Self-Regulation Three critical neurological components need to be integrated: 1) Executive Functioning: conscious control of thoughts and actions (attention shifting, working memory, internalizing speech, flexible thinking, planning actions and inhibition)

19 2) Sensory Processing: how you make sense of the information around you and how you organize and integrate that info to act on it.

20 3) Controlling Emotions: monitoring, evaluating and modifying the intensity and timing of your emotional response (determining the size of the problem, motivation, and perspective- taking)

21 Self-Regulation Strategies and Lessons
1) “READY OR NOT READY?” The purpose in asking this is to determine whether the student is regulated and ready to make a plan. This need to be paired with a motoric activity. Example: “I know you’re ready when (your hands are in your lap, you sit in the chair, etc.) Ready/Not Ready script video: notready.html

Big/Little Deal script video: deal.html 3) “HARD OR EASY?” If it’s hard, they need to be taught how to get help. Hard/Easy script video: ef_hard-easy.html 4) “LET’S MAKE A PLAN” The purpose is for the student to identify and verbally and/or visually rehearse the steps of what they are supposed to do (try to keep it to 3 steps)

23 Executive Function: Types of Plans to Teach
Plans to transition Plans to complete work Plans to ask for help Plans for routines, multi-step tasks Plans to calm down when you are worried, scared or angry Plans to regulate level of alertness Plans to solve problems Plans to interact with others Plans for achieving a goal

24 Goal: something you think about Action Plan: sequence of steps you physically have to do

25 Other Ways to Incorporate Executive Function Practice and Instruction
Model plan-making by posting or discussing agenda Model problem-solving by thinking out loud when problems occur Assign a group project or task with multiple steps Plan an event/party together

26 Students have social notebooks where they keep their visuals, worksheets and other materials for group Have students bring their school notebooks to group and discuss their organizational systems Break down and prioritize real & hypothetical goals Academic tasks Social/life goals Discuss traits of good, average and poor students

27 Sensory Self-Regulation
Resource: How Does Your Engine Run?, Therapy Works

28 Resource: Take 5! Staying Alert at
Home and School, Therapy Works

29 Emotional Self-Regulation and Problem-Solving
Resource: Kimochis


31 For younger children, teach that the size of their reaction must match the size of the problem.
As youth get older, teach that sometimes they must compress their feelings until they are in private or with family/close friends.

32 Resource: Numbered Scales

33 5 Point Scale as self-regulation planning tool

34 Resource: Strategy lists


What I think TAKING CONTROL OF MYSELF What I do How I feel CONTROLLING MY THOUGHTS Distract my brain Absorbing Activities Coping/Positive Self-Talk Thought Stopping Turn Volume Down on negative thoughts Throw Away / Lock Up negative thoughts CONTROLLING MY BODY & FEELINGS Physical Relaxation Physical Exercise Controlled Breathing Calming Pictures / Visualization Relaxing Activity CONTROLLING MY BEHAVIOR STOP PLAN GO Resource: Think Good-Feel Good by Paul Stallard


38 Suggested Resources for Self-Regulation
EXECUTIVE FUNCTION: Executive Skills in Children and Adolescents (Peg Dawson & Richard Guare) Planning to Learn (Keely Harper-Hill & Stephanie Lord) SENSORY: The Alert Program: How Does Your Engine Run? and Take 5! (Mary Sue Williams & Sherry Shellenberger) Arnie and his School Tools (Jennifer Veenenhall) EMOTIONAL CONTROL: The Incredible 5 Point Scale and A 5 Could Make Me Lose Control (Kari Dunn Buron) A 5 Could Make Me Lose Control (Kari Du The Zones of Regulation (Leah M. Kuypers) Think Good – Feel Good (Paul Stallard)


40 RESOURCE: Think Social
by Michelle Garcia Winner

41 CONCEPT: People have different kinds of “smarts”
Some “smarts” are smarter than other ones. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses, but we can get better at what is hard for us if we work at it! In social group, we are going to work on improving our “social smarts.”

42 RESOURCE: You Are a Social Detective by Michelle Garcia Winner


44 Resource: Questionnaire http://ramirezclass. webstarts

45 CONCEPT: How to be part of a group

46 Post a list of group expectations
Post a list of group expectations. Refer to list often and reinforce expected group behavior when you see it, even when teaching other skills. ©Michelle Garcia Winner, Social Thinking®

47 RESOURCE: You are a Social Detective by
Michelle G. Winner

48 RESOURCE: Whole Body Listening Larry at School
by Elizabeth Sautter

49 by Michelle Garcia Winner.
How to Join a Group Don’t “pounce.” Use the “slow approach” 1) Move your body into the group. 2) Look at people in the group. Do their faces and bodies welcome you? 3) Listen to what they are talking about. 4) Add thoughts and questions that relate to what someone else is saying. Adapted from Social Thinking Worksheets for Tween and Teens by Michelle Garcia Winner.

50 Group Games and Activities
Songs and games that require imitation Circle time songs Simon Says Board and card games Games/activities that involve cooperation or a shared group goal Resources: Social Skills Games for Children and Anger Management Games for Children (Deborah M. Plummer)

51 CONCEPT: Eyes are important- yours and other people’s
People think about what they look at. People do not necessarily see what you see (different perspective). If you think with your eyes, you can make smart guesses about: 1) Thoughts/feelings of others 2) What someone might do next (figuring out their plan) 3) How to behave in a situation

52 RESOURCE: You are a Social Detective by Michelle G. Winner

53 Other Strategies Have children practice identifying what you are looking at and what you are thinking about. When reading books, watching videos, or using scenario/facial expression flashcards, emphasize characters’ eyes and what they are looking at/thinking about. For young children, use a puppet, doll, or special interest toy to help them attend to the eyes and follow its’ line of sight. Don’t call on students or say their names. Tell them you will look at them when it is their turn to talk.

54 CONCEPT: Our bodies and faces send messages
If we look at people’s face and bodies, and we listen not only to the words they say, but how they say it, then we can make a smart guess about what they are thinking and feeling, and what they might do next. People look at our faces and bodies to make smart guesses about us too.

55 Using pictures (books, flashcards, etc
Using pictures (books, flashcards, etc.) or paused video, students identify what someone is thinking or feeling by reading body language.

56 CONCEPT: People have thoughts about Expected and Unexpected Behavior
Every environment has a set of rules that people expect to be followed. When we follow the rules, we are being expected. When we do not follow the rules, we are being unexpected. When you are expected, people have good thoughts about you (green thoughts). When you are unexpected, people have uncomfortable thoughts about you (red thoughts). If someone has a red thought about you, you can change their thought by changing your behavior.


58 Provide visual/concrete feedback to let individual students or the whole group know what kind of thoughts you are having about them based on their behavior: Red/green popsicle sticks Red/green points Paperclips (that form a chain of expected behavior)

59 ©Michelle Garcia Winner, Social Thinking®

60 RESOURCE: Jill Kuzma’s SLP Social and
Emotional Skill Sharing Site

61 RESOURCE: Social Skills Picture Book by Jed Baker
Right Way (Expected) Wrong Way (Unexpected)

62 RESOURCE: Social Skills Picture Book for
High School and Beyond by Jed Baker Right Way (Expected) Wrong Way (Unexpected)

63 Comic Strips/Cartooning
Comic Strip Conversations use the graphics of stick figures, talking bubbles, and thinking bubbles to interpret social situations/interactions and take the perspective of others. Can be used to pre-teach concepts or analyze a social mishap after it has occurred.


65 Teach hidden rules Resource: The Hidden
Curriculum by Brenda Smith Myles Resource: Jill Kuzma’s Website- Social Secrets

66 RESOURCE: A 5 is Against the Law by Kari Dunn Buron

67 RESOURCE: Video Modeling DVDs
Model Me Kids Fitting in and Having Fun

68 CONCEPT: Social thinking is flexible thinking
That means: Doing something you don’t want to Stopping something you want to keep doing Accepting change Trying something new, doing something a different way Listening to other people’s thoughts and trying their ideas THINKING ABOUT OTHERS

69 STRATEGIES Cooperative games/tasks that require group members to try others’ ideas. Role play flexible and inflexible thinking scenarios (can make a video). Demonstrate flexible thoughts when cartooning or making comic strips. Point out and reinforce flexible thinking when you see it.

70 Resource: Superflex curriculum, Michelle Garcia Winner

71 CONCEPT: Social files (a.k.a. “people” or “friend” files)
We keep information we learn about people in a “social file” in our brains, which helps us: 1) Have a conversation about something they like. 2) Do something they like. 3) Show interest in them. 4) Make decisions based on how we think they will react. 5) Help us interpret motives and intentions of people.

72 Games “Get to know you” activities Commercially-available party games
(younger children) Commercially-available party games

73 Other Strategies Students interview each other.
Each group member makes a collage of images that represent facts about themselves. Create Venn diagrams or other graphic organizers to notice differences and find commonalities. Make concrete social files on each other using actual file folders. Stick post-its with facts about the person in the file.

74 CONCEPT: Conversation is made up of questions and thoughts

75 Conversation Tree Concept from Thinking About You Thinking About Me, Michelle G. Winner

76 CONCEPT: There are different levels of relationships between people

77 Concept adapted from Michelle Garcia Winner, Social Thinking®

78 RESOURCES: Fictional stories Non-fiction (friendship guides)

79 STRATEGY/ACTIVITY: Use movie and TV clips as a platform for discussing relationships, non-verbal communication, the nuances of social situations, and other topics. EXAMPLES: Big Bang Theory /watch?v=k0xgjUhEG3U Napoleon Dynamite


81 Considerations When Forming Groups
Age, maturity level Shared areas of interest Relationships between members (friends, negative influences on each other, enemies, bully/target) Same teacher, similar schedules, other scheduling concerns Shared social goals and objectives Perspective-taking and social thinking ability

82 When to Teach One-on-One
Student needs more intensive or more individualized instruction You have attempted to include the student in a group, but he/she took too much time and energy to manage Student is resistant to being part of a group and impedes group learning The ultimate goal is to work them back into a group If schedule does not allow for one-on-one, pair two resistant social communicators together REMEMBER: A “group” can consist of one adult and one student. The student is still required to think about another person and be social.

83 Using Typical Peers Typical peers can be utilized in instructional social groups or other programs such as Circle of Friends, Lunch Bunch, etc. Typical peers can be other students in special education (who do not have behavior problems and a higher level of skill in social communication) Typical peers are helpful for: Modeling expected behavior and explaining concepts Grounding and calming the group Helping with generalization outside of group Sharing successes (observations of student outside of group) Encouraging resistant communicators to participate and understand how their negative behavior affects others NOTE: The dynamic between typical peers and social group members can change as they get older

84 Curriculum and Lesson Planning
Beneficial for teacher and students to have a clear intent for the social group. Based on information from assessments and students’ IEPs, teacher must determine: broad goals for the group skills that need to be taught how to teach those skills (lessons and activities) general sequence of lessons, short-term and/or long-term


86 Structure of a 30-minute lesson
1) Review schedule and Check-in Students identify how they are feeling (5 Point Scale) Discuss personal problems/solutions (or plan to follow-up later, if needed) 2) Review of last time, accountability for “homework” 3) Lesson/Activity 4) Reinforcement/Fun (5 minutes)

87 Building in Reinforcement
1) Use last 5 minutes for snack, special interest activity, etc. Could be earned contingent on group or individual behavior OR Regular part of schedule; if the group is off- task, they cut into their fun time (natural consequence) 2) Group earns points, stars, “green sticks,” etc., that build up to a future party or fun activity (to do during social group time)

88 Ways to Promote Generalization
Communicate with parents, teachers and other school staff about concepts taught Coaching/prompting in other school contexts Adults Typical peers from social group Co-teach Teach social lessons to an entire class Set weekly social goals, challenges, or “homework” for students, with accountability and reinforcement for completion Problem-solve and role-play situations from students’ real lives Video-record student in other contexts and have them self-evaluate Create opportunities for practice in other contexts

89 Components of Meaningful Social Groups
Both social cognition and social skills are addressed Behavioral expectations are explicit and taught Opportunities to practice A variety of teaching modalities are utilized Concrete/visual supports are used to help students latch onto abstract concepts Students feel safe, trust one another Instructor is creative and flexible Fun and laughter!

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