Thursday, February 13, 2014

Social Skill Products that I fell in LOVE with!

Hi friends!!! I recently got contacted by a sweet lady from Social Thinking® with the opportunity to review some of the products created by Michelle Garcia Winner. I was honored. I had recently heard so much about her and the advancements she has made within the social skills community, so I snatched this opportunity up in a heart beat. Since I was at the secondary level this year (junior high), I requested two items that could specifically target the age group that I provide services for. There are many products to choose from on the Social Thinking® website and they all seemed great!

The two products  I had the chance to use in my classroom and review are: 

Both products were very appealing to the eye when I first received them and the products appeared age appropriate. I often find it difficult to find age appropriate items for my junior high caseload. 

First I will talk about Should I or Shouldn't I?  It is a set of multiple card decks full of age appropriate scenarios for the middle school/high school population. You can see some examples from the pictures below that appear on the website. There are prompt and challenge cards with situation scenarios. There are also number cards. There are many ways you could use the stimulus cards. The way I found the game best utilized in my classroom was to have a student draw a card and answer the question. The other students in the group would then rate the students answer according to the rating scale that each of them were provided with (this comes with the game as well). I then had my students write down WHY they gave the rating that they did. It was really interesting to see WHY and it really ended up in some really beneficial discussion following each stimulus card. We found out that some people take certain words/answer differently and it increased my students social knowledge/awareness even after a few sessions using these cards. 
(Pictures from the Social Thinking® website)

Next, I will talk about Social Fortune, Social Fate. The concepts in this book were spot on and there was one child that has been a challenge for me this school year and when I introduced the concepts of this book, it truly was the "aha moment" he needed. This book is made up of various comics or anime stories that target various social scenarios that could occur for an older student.

(Pictures from the Social Thinking® website)

The anime alone was a hit with my students. There is a social fate and social fortune ending to each comic depending on which way you have the book facing. (See above) I first introduced the concept of social fortune, social fate by explaining how words can determine how someone else reacts. We have some control over how a situation plays out based on the words we choose and how we choose to proceed with the conversation. Many of my students needed to learn that "just because we think it and we think its good to be honest, doesn't mean its the RIGHT thing to say". I think it was another eye opening for my students to learn that social situations are everywhere! Everywhere! I had one student tell me "its like we live in a social world!!". I wanted to say "well DUH!!!!" I was SO very glad he picked up on that by himself though. With my students with social goals, it doesn't matter how many times YOU tell them, it matters when the student has THEIR aha moment and it makes sense in THEIR head. To be completely honest, some of my eighth graders thought the graphics were a little "young", but I still was able to incorporate the concepts of the book into social scenario discussions about situations that were occurring in their everyday lives. 

I highly, highly recommend these products. I don't just say that about all social products. I find it is rare to find products that target social skills that are appropriate and adaptable to fit each of my students and these two did just that! I hope you enjoyed this review as much as I enjoyed using the items in therapy. I think one of the cool things about these products too are the reasonable prices. These items are both under 25 dollars and the quality of the product for that price was impressive! 

I encourage each of you to go look at the Social Thinking® website and see if there is a product that would be beneficial for your caseload.

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