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Social Language Groups

Social Language Groups

Social Language Groups

Grades K-2:  We Thinkers Volume I


We Thinkers! is a Social Thinking® curriculum for the preschool and early elementary years developed by Michelle Garcia Winner.  This curriculum is used in our kindergarten-2nd grade social language group.  This curriculum is designed to incorporate familiar children's literature and fun, engaging activities to teach social thinking concepts.  Dramatic play is frequently incorporated into this social language group due to the strong correlation between play and language skills.  We Thinkers! is divided into two volumes with each volume targeting 5 important social thinking concepts.  The first volume teaches foundational skills necessary for successful social interactions by laying the groundwork for thinking about and relating to others.


  We Thinkers! Units 1-5


1. Thinking Thoughts and Feeling Feelings

  • teaches that thoughts and feelings are different
  • teaches that people may have different thoughts from our own
  • teaches the correlation between thoughts and feelings
  • teaches children to take others' thoughts into account as they act and react


2. Following the Group Plan

  • teaches children to understand that they are part of a group (classroom, social language group, etc.) and that every group has a plan
  • helps children know what is expected to think about and do as part of a group
  • when we are following the group plan, people feel calm and comfortable
  • when people are following their own group plan, others have uncomfortable thoughts and feelings
  • two or more people is a group so we are almost always in some group at school


3. Thinking with Your Eyes

  • we use our eyes to gather information about what other people are:  thinking about, feeling, what is happening around us, and what might be someone else's plan
  • we use our eyes to communicate our focus and to show others what we are thinking about them
  • teaches children that there is a purpose for observing others and the environment


4. Body in the Group

  • keeping your body in the group means maintaining a comfortable physical presence around others - not too close and not too far
  • when your body is in the group you are sending the message that you are interested in others and that you are following the same plan
  • when your body is out of the group you are sending the message that you are not thinking about the group
  • physicial proximity is a key component to successful social interactions


5. Whole Body Listening

  • your eyes, ears, mouth, hands, arms, legs, and feet are quiet and calm
  • when your body is calm and quiet you are able to listen with your whole body
  • listening is an active process that helps students organize their bodies and minds to help them process what is happening around them


For more information on Michelle Garcia Winner's Social Thinking® please visit the website below


We Thinkers!  Volume II

The second volume of the We Thinkers! program developed by Michelle Garcia Winner builds on the first 5 concepts, but addresses concepts that are more complex.  Children's literature, engaging activities, and dramatic play are incorporated into these units as well.  Although the program is sequential in structure, we are always embedding elements of different units into each individual session.


6. Expected/Unexpected Behaviors and Hidden Rules

  • doing what's expected means understanding that a supplemental range of unstated or "hidden rules" exist in every situation
  • focuses on teaching children that we all have the ability to CHANGE our actions
  • silently reminds students that the perspective of others are involved in every social encounter


7. Smart Guess/Wacky Guess

  • when we want to know something but don’t necessarily have all the facts, we can gather lots of clues
  • when we have some clues, but don't have all of them, we can make a "smart guess"
  • to make a smart guess - think with your eyes, listen to what is happening around you, and combine that with what you already know
  • we make wacky guesses when we have too little or no information (clues) to help us figure out a situation 


8. Stuck vs. Flexible Thinking

  • flexible thinking is being able to consider different options and strategies to adapt across places and people in the moment
  • solving interpersonal problems, learning as a group, and being able to maintain one’s friendships all require the ability to think flexibly and on occasion change your plan based on the will of the group
  • teaches children that we can change our plan, change what we are thinking, or give up what we want based on the plan of the group


 9. Size of the Problem

  • self regulatory concept used to teach students to monitor their own behavior and reactions and make appropriate adjustments
  • teaches children to put personal problems in perspective
  • reactions need to match the size of the problem
  • requires perspective taking skills


10. Sharing an Imagination

  • students with social thinking deficits often have a strong singular imagination but they struggle when the situation requires them to share an imagination with others
  • sharing an imagination is the basis for play and conversation
  • to fully engage in creative and interactive play, you need to be able to imagine what others may be thinking as well as let them in on your own thoughts
  • need to coordinate your own ideas, goals, and interests with those of another person to pursue a common plan


For more information on Michelle Garcia Winner's Social Thinking® concepts please visit the website below


Grades 3-5 Social Language Group

Our 3rd-5th grade social language group continues to build on many of the skills from the K-2nd grade group.  Concepts such as hidden rules, smart/wacky guess, stuck vs. flexible thinking, and size of the problem are continued.  We use many of the concepts from Michelle Garcia Winner's Social Thinking® materials.  This group introduces the Social Detective and Superflex characters.  These characters are unthinkables who invade people's brains and make them unable to interact appropriately.  These characters include Rock Brain who makes you unable to use flexible thinking; Glassman who overreacts to situations and problems; Topic Twister who changes subjects and topics in conversation; and One Sided Sid who only sees his side of things.   Superflex is the hero who uses strategies to defeat the Unthinkables.  This group also works on the concepts of perspective taking and theory of mind which are crucial elements in higher level social interactions.  For more information on Michelle Garcia Winner's work please visit her website listed below.