It’s that time again, back to school! We’re all feeling the rush and excitement of new students, new caseloads, possibly even new positions (in my case!). This fall I will be starting at a private practice specializing in social skills and I could not be more excited!
We’ve also been busy over the summer filming all of the new video lessons that will be added to your libraries this 2016-17 school year. We have some really cool new topics and styles of videos that we can’t wait to share!
For September, we’ll be putting out 6 new videos and as usual I’m going to tell a little about each one below. The topics are Using Social Media, Going to a Birthday Party, Shifting the Conversation Topic, Making Connected Comments, Making a Plan, and Solving a Problem. Most of these are in the newer How-to style, which teaches one skill in a how-to video format. Read on to take a peek at the latest video lessons for September!
Using Social Media
This video is one of our social shorts, which is a shorter version of the usual lessons. We have received many requests for tools to go over social media use for teens so we decided to start making some lessons to cover this topic! This is a huge area to cover so we wanted to start with some basic social rules for using social media.
This video goes over who to talk to so teens stay safe. We stress the stranger rule, making sure we only talk with people we know. We also review what to say, using the think- it or say- it rule. If you aren’t sure what to post, consider if this is something you should keep in your head or think, versus something that is okay to say out loud. You wouldn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings so using a social filter is important! Lastly, we talk about what to post– making sure we are careful with pictures we post. Once people see things on the internet you cannot get it back or have it unseen. There are so many tricky areas when using the internet for all teens so I’m sure we will have plenty of videos on this topic!
Going to a Birthday Party
This video is another social short that goes over what to do now that you’ve been invited to a birthday party. This is really nice for younger students who are going to parties for peers in their class. We want to teach all the different friendship skills that go into an event like a party.
We show our main character getting an invitation and go through all of the following steps with her. She looks at the invitation and makes sure she can attend. Next she has to RSVP, an important aspect of social life. After she confirms that she will go, she needs to get a gift and card. We show how she thinks about the person and what they like when thinking of a present. Birthday parties are great jumping off points for social skills activities because they work on many things like executive function and planning skills, and many many social skills! Also they’re relatable because everyone has either been to and/or had one!
Making Connected Comments
Making Connected Comments has been of our most popular videos for younger students so wanted to make a version to use with older middle to high school students! This video teaches the same concept of making comments that connect back to what the other person in the conversation has said. We show the reaction of others who will be very confused if the comments are not connected by the same topic. To help us teach this concept, we use the animated graphics of puzzle pieces. We learn that our comments have to fit together just like puzzle pieces.
A nice thing about having multiple versions of videos that teach the same concept are being able to use both! They teach the same concept, but show slightly different situations.You could watch both videos in one lesson and discuss the different ways the characters either did or did not use this skill. This helps students see how to apply the skills in different ways! They also come with two different worksheets, doubling the material for this concept. Bonus!
Solving a Problem
This video is another How-to video, focusing on the steps to take when solving a problem. We watch as Mike applies each step to his problem of having two plans in the same night. He learns the following steps: identifying the problem, figuring out if it is big or small, coming up with three possible solutions, selecting the best one to try, and observing to see if the problem is solved.
I like the idea of having a problem solving checklist so students can be more independent when solving problems. They can check each step off the list and even if they aren’t 100% independent in each one they have somewhere to start. Groups can use this video as a jumping off point to work on problem solving. Each student can be given a situation with a problem to solve and can apply this checklist. Then the group can all discuss how they would handle each step and come to a solution. You can also pair or group students to practice working together!
Making a Plan
Making a Plan follows our how-to video format. We go over all of the steps involved when forming a plan to hang out with friends. This is always one of my favorite group activities because we rarely realize how complicated it actually is!
Our characters show the following steps. Deciding what to do when hanging out- making sure everyone is involved and will have fun and not just choosing what one person likes to do. Figuring out when to do it-discussing when everyone is free, what day and time works best, etc. Finding out how to get there– making plans for a ride with parents or with friends. We stress that we make these plans together which is a really important friendship skill.
Listening to Other’s Ideas
This video shows how it will make others feel if you do not listen to their ideas. It takes place in a group setting where three classmates are working together to come up with an idea. Jeff has strong opinions and is not willing to work with the group. This in turn makes his peers feel upset. When we show the resolved version, we focus on how it can be helpful to listen to others. You can make it easier on yourself and find some great ideas when you are open to listening to others. Jeff learns that when we work together we can use all of the ideas to make an even better one! Follow up activities could be the therapist gives the group a topic to discuss or a task and asks them to work together.
As always all of these videos include a worksheet to review the concepts and give more ways to practice! We are always adding to our collections so feel free to tell us what you’d like to see! We have some exciting ideas to share this year, including monthly videos added to your library, additional types of materials to use, and a video lab where we experiment with new video lesson styles on YouTube! Look out for these new additions from us and tell us what you think on Twitter, Pinterest, or Facebook!