Friday, May 10, 2013
Social Thinking--What is it?
Thanks to the generosity of our HSA's professional development fund for teachers, I just got back from attending a great two-day conference in Baltimore. The topic was on Social Thinking, which is a phrase coined by author, activist, and SLP Michelle Garcia Winner. Social thinking is about much more than basic social skills, which are mostly language based, as in: "I say hi, you say hi back" and getting students to have a conversation of at least three exchanges. Social thinking includes teaching kids how our brains work, what thoughts are, and how our thoughts and the thoughts of others are influenced by our behaviors. It's a much more in-depth and holistic way of approaching social learning, and one I've been dabbling in for the past two years with students here at Lafayette. At this conference given by Michelle, I learned about a new social thinking curriculum for younger kids ages 4-7 called "The Incredible Flexible You." This is a basic way of teaching ALL kids about social skills such as identifying thoughts and feelings, figuring out what to do in a group, using your eyes to make smart guesses about others, keeping your body and brain in the group (what we would call "self-control") and using your whole body to listen. While I've incorporated parts of these concepts into character ed classes this year and last, I am really excited to be able to teach them in a more formal way in the upcoming school year. Other plans for next year include the "Teaching Peace" curriculum that Linda Ryden is currently using with 2-5th grades, and which I'll write more about later. Please feel free to contact me for more information about Social Thinking, plans for next year, or anything else you have on your mind! Happy Friday; it's nice to be back in the building.