I have a lot of students who need direct teaching of social skills and not all of them are children with Autism. A lot of my younger elementary students with severe language impairments also need to brush up on their pragmatics (the website says for grades 2-12, but I used it with a Kindergarten group and it worked great). I was excited to try the lessons in this book out and see how they responded.
Now I could write a review of all the parts of the book, or I could get to the nitty gritty and tell you exactly how I used it. I know which one I would want, so this is how it was used in my classroom.
There are 50 social skills topics in this book. Each topic has a set of 7 steps. These steps are kind of like little mantras for your students i.e. "I will be aware of the people around me." etc. I like to start off the week using a pocket chart and sentence strips. We write down each of the 7 steps and talk about them as we go. The book has a description of each step so you don't even have to use your brain to think of an explanation (love that)! This pocket chart stays up in the classroom all week and the steps are reviewed each session. After you go through all the steps you can move on to the next section of the lesson, the "Look and Learn".
The "Look and Learn" is where the CD-ROM comes in handy. Print off enough sheets for each student and have them follow the directions to the picture scene. In the detailed picture scenes the children are either following the 7 steps for that lesson or they are not. It's up to the students to decide who is and who isn't. This is a good group activity to get your students to participate.
The next section is the "Think and Review". In this section there are scenarios that focus on the topic at hand. These are nice for creating discussion groups. You can talk about what the student did and what they could do to make the situation better. Lots of perspective taking is needed for the given scenarios. At the end there are also discussion questions where the students can relate their own experiences to whatever the lesson is focusing on.
The last part of each lesson is a "Take-Home Practice". This is great to send home each week so parents know what the child is learning that week. Each lesson also comes with a "Simply Social Superstar!" cut-out that they can either keep in a book or you could create an award wall in your classroom. I waited until I saw the student using that particular skill we had been working on that week and then they got to color and take-home the award.
What I really like about this book is that it can go hand-in-hand with other social skills programs that you might already have in place. I use Michelle Garcia Winner's Social Thinking Curriculum, and this book coincides perfectly with the lessons and the Unthinkables of her program.
Some examples of how I integrated the two are as follows:
Being Aware of Your Surroundings lesson- Body Snatcher/The Unwonderer
Ignoring Distractions lesson-Brain Eater
Staying On Topic lesson-One Sided Sid/Topic Twister Meister
Turn-Taking lesson-Destroyer of Fun
Because I already had this Social Thinking Curriculum in place, I wasn't sure how the book would work with everything. It ended up really adding a lot. I love the 7 steps for each lesson and those are really great to be able to give to parents each week so they can practice and understand what you are working on. This book also does most of the lesson planning for you. It has 50, that's right folks 50 lessons to use. You could definitely turn each lesson into a week long activity. There are 52 weeks in a year so there you go no social group planning for an entire year. Those other 2 weeks (here, here). Done.
Check back tomorrow for "Appy Hour" to see how I integrated some Super Duper apps into the lessons from Simply Social 7.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this post are Speech Lady Liz's. The companies are nice enough to provide materials to try out, but provide no other compensation.