Sunday, November 23, 2014

The Thinkables and Unthinkables!

I was graciously given the opportunity to review a set of cards from Social Thinking. 
This double-decker consists of The Thinkables and The Unthinkables. These cards were designed to be used with 3rd-5th graders, but since I am at a junior high only this year, I decided to adapt them to use with my older student caseload. My caseload is quite diverse this year, so I have many students with social goals that are at junior high grade level, but are actually functioning at an elementary level. These cards were perfect to utilize with that sub-section of my caseload. 

I first introduced all of the characters from the card decks. We started our with the Unthinkables, then moved to the Thinkables. We spoke about various situations that each character would participate. We personified these characters as if they were members of our speech room. 

Here are some of the example cards from each deck! There are 4 copies of each card and since my groups are no larger than 4, it was perfect! 
Here are a few of the activities completed using these cards:

1) I made up a series of situations that involved the characters of the card decks. I would place the character options in front of the students. I read the story, then the students would take turns telling me which Thinkable or Unthinkable was present in the story from the multiple choice cards in front of them. As the students became more proficient with the characters, I would not give them answer choices and just have the student let me know which character was present in the situation.

2) I would give a student a social situation. I then would ask "How would the Unthinkable Brain Eater change this scenario?" The student would then have to analyze how the Unthinkable would affect that particular situation. 

3) If a student acted like one of the Thinkables or Unthinkable in the speech room, I would pause and say "which character are you acting like?" it was amazing how quickly my students related to these characters. It gave the students a chance to visually and emotionally connect with the social curriculum being presented to them.

4) I played a charades type of game. I would give a couple students each a character and they would be required to brainstorm a short skit to show how each Thinkable or Unthinkable would participate in the scenario.

5) Another way I chose to use the cards is I would develop a social scenario. The student would then tell me how each Unthinkable would interfere with a situation and how each Thinkable would help the situation. 

6) Lastly, I used this cards in pairs. I would find a Thinkable and an Unthinkable to pair up. The Thinkable was used to counteract the Unthinkable's part in a situation. For example, I paired up Meditation Matt and Brain Eater. Meditation Matt countered Brain Eater (who distracts people). Meditation Matt used his powers of staying calm to counteract the feelings that Brain Eater might create by constantly distracting others. 

There were some days where a student would say "Worry Wall invaded me this morning". Or "Don't be a Topic Twistermeister!". I personally think my students connected more with the Unthinkables than the Thinkables, but they did incorporate both sets of characters into conversation a lot more than I thought they would. These characters were so easily generalized into everyday scenarios. 

So once again, I believe Social Thinking does it again!  The only thing I did not like about the product was the packaging. We used the cards so much that the packaging is already falling apart =) I really like that the cards were made out of an non-destructible material!  Michelle Garcia Winner definitely knows what she is doing when it comes to developing products for social goals. This item has been a definite winner in my speech room. It was a genius idea to come up with characters to impersonate the various social concepts that happen in this world. 

Thank you for reading! You can purchase these cards on the Social Thinking Website

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