Sunday, December 1, 2013

Everyone needs a little bit of DIY time now and then....

I recently shared a new tab for social skill resources. We have a new student at my school that has propelled my research into all things social story related. I've even tried writing one about balls hitting people when they bounce. (It's quite possibly the worst thing I've written since about 5th grade. I will not be subjecting anyone to that eyesore.) 

One of the products that kept appearing in my search was the Social Thinking curriculum. I know there is a team of bloggers writing about these products and they can do a much better job at explaining them. My district doesn't have the program and probably won't be getting it soon due to the budget cuts. However, I can still make some coordinating materials in the hope that things will change next year. All it took was a little inventiveness and the discovery of Jill Kuzma's character description freebie.

I printed out three copies of the character descriptions. Two of them were cut up for DIY projects and the third visited the laminator immediately upon printing. 

 The first DIY project is a file folder matching game.
-Take two vanilla folders and glue them together. You need to make sure that you can still close the folder up before you glue them.
-Character descriptions, which should be glued directly to the folder.
-Laminate the folder and separate character pictures (you may want to print these on cardstock or glue to poster board for added strength)
-Attach Velcro to the folder and the character pictures.
-Stick the character picture above the correct description

The project took me 3 days due to our lamination policy. If you have access to your own machine, it doesn't take long at all.

The second DIY project is another matching activity. It can also be used for role-play.
-Glue the character pictures to poster board and cut into small squares.
-Glue character descriptions to sentence strips or print on heavy cardstock.
-Laminate descriptions & character pictures.
-Attach character pictures to craft sticks with glue or tape. (I used tape.)

Again, this project took about two days due to the lamination rule.  

My plan is to eventually let my students have a specific character trait to look for when we read stories. When they notice that a character is behaving like an "Unthinkable", they will raise up their character stick and explain what they noticed. It will take plenty of work before they are ready to try this activity; however, I think it will be a great way to connect the curriculum to other experiences when the time comes.


  1. I really like the idea of having kids hold their Unthinkables sticks while you're reading a story. Thanks for sharing it!

  2. Do you have any book suggestions for the second DIY activity? I love that idea!

    1. It depends on the age range we're talking about. Honestly, for elementary ages I think you can use most picture books that have a plot where a character is going to run into some sort of conflict. I really like the Berenstain Bears and Arthur for my social skills groups. Old Peanuts comic strips might be another option too.