- Published on Tuesday, 21 August 2012 08:25
Those of you familiar to Social Thinking® know that we are always on a quest to better understand how the social world connects - on a deeper level - to school, work, and home. Our latest thinking has been inspired by the idea of Zooming IN on the micro or specific challenges we routinely see in our students and then Zooming OUT to connect those challenges to the “big picture.” What’s the “big picture” you ask? Well, the big picture is the academic and family world that surrounds our kids. The big picture involves Common Core Standards and lunch bunch, IEP goals and afterschool clubs. It includes figuring out teachers and organizing materials for a paper. It’s everything that is part of the home and school experience. We realized, however, that looking at the big picture is sometimes nothing short of a brain fog for those of us trying to figure out where to start.
So, we put together a couple of new workshop days that will take participants on our latest journey: A glance at the big picture with the goal of zooming in on WHAT TO DO NEXT. This forced us to develop the mantra: “more tools, more strategies” and we’ve been chanting this ever since to keep us on course while developing these two new workshops.
At the core of these workshop days is a deeper look at how the level of the social mind influences both academic and social learning. The social mind helps guide our reading comprehension of literature as well as understand how a reader will interpret what we have written. In other words, social thinking and its related social responses are not confined to the playground or purely social situations, but instead are alive and well across much of every day. As we say again and again, there’s never a time when we are NOT using social thinking! Because of this we’ve designed the workshops around observational checklists, descriptive profiles, and decisions trees to help us focus our strategies. Participants will get practice in using the tools and developing strategies for their own students using this Zooming IN/Zooming OUT approach.
The new workshops are built on some of the different social levels outlined in our Social Thinking-Social Communication Profile™.The first day in the two-day series will be very specific to individuals who are considered to be Challenged Social Communicators and Emerging Social Communicators (CSC, ESC) while the second day will focus on Nuance-Challenged Social Communicators (NCSC).
How do we zoom in on the specifics to determine what to teach to Emerging Social Communicators or Nuance Challenged Social Communicators who may be in full inclusion classrooms, specialized classrooms, structured and unstructured settings? Our response is “with tools and strategies!” And, we’ve created new ones to share with you. To begin with, we’ll talk about our new system to help parents and teachers better understand their students’ specific learning needs. We’ll discuss strategies to build competencies needed for 4 key Language Arts Common Core Standards. We picked Standards which clearly highlight how one’s social learning and social abilities are interwoven into reading, written expression, listening, collaboration, and language. We’ll also share a decision tree to help educational teams “zoom in” on what the student is ready/able to learn versus a push to teach information to keep up with students his or her own age.
Our hope is that everyone will leave with a better idea about how to focus their individual lens on what’s really important when teaching around the curriculum. We also realize the need to help school administrators, teachers, and related professionals understand the connection between the traditional classroom experience and the social learning experience. They are NOT separate, yet so many of us are not familiar with how to talk about both concepts in the same breath.
©2012 - Social Thinking Publishing - Michelle Garcia Winner www.socialthinking.com