Disclosure: A copy of this book was provided to me in exchange for this review. All opinions are mine. Amazon Affiliate links are included for your convenience.
Today, I am here to share my experience with using the book You are a Social Detective! Explaining Social Thinking to Kids by Michelle Garcia Winner and Pamela Crooke and illustrated by Kelly Knopp. This book is designed for elementary school-aged (K-5) students, and can be used with middle school and high school students who have deficits with social skills. The best part about this book is that it is a great way to introduce the social thinking vocabulary to parents, general education teachers, school staff, para professionals and people in the community. Throughout the book, the Social Thinking vocabulary is highlighted, so that you know which concept they are addressing on each page along with a great visuals that look very much like a comic book, so the kids are very engaged with the pictures.
The book is broken down into three sections:
I used this framework for organizing my social thinking lessons when I pushed in to teach social skills to my 4th-6th grade SDC class. The kids really enjoyed the visual cartoon pictures and the think bubbles of the people in the book. My first lesson we talked about school and social smarts as well as what expected behavior means and looks like. We also talked about how it makes people FEEL when we do expected behavior. As a group we shared what we thought was our best “SMART”, mine of course is my “social & talking” smarts (my husband tunes me out sometimes). Some of the kids said they have “social smarts” (aka the expected peer model for the group), “math smarts”, “calming down” smarts”, and “art smarts”. I thought this was a great way to share what they think they are good at doing. I then explained that I am really good at “social smarts” and it’s my job to make them learn ways to have better “social smarts”.
You can grab my FREEBIE social smarts worksheet by clicking the photo above. I made a think bubble and had my students draw a time when they used their social smarts at school. There is space on the worksheet for the students to write down the specific time. We then talked about what “social smarts” they used to be expected at school!
The last part of the book, we talked about being social detectives and what that looks like. We need our eyes, ears, brains, and hearts feeling to be really good social detectives!! I made some Social Detective Bookmarks for my teacher to help remind her kids that we are being social detectives all the time in the classroom. The teacher could easily laminate and tape one on each student’s desk and give visual cues for what is missing in being a great social detective. Keep an eye for more “social detective” types of activities in the future.
What I love about this book:
1. It’s affordable! This resource is under $30 and will cover you for many social skills lessons. Doesn’t break the bank and helps with easing the pains of lesson planning.
2. Kids love the graphics- All my students commented about the think bubbles and really enjoyed the vivid cartoon figures. This helped keep their attention and the wording in the book is to the point, so the students don’t get bored easily.
3. Easy to share!- This book is easy to share with the general education teacher and helps break down the terms in a quick and friendly way. You could easily go in and do 2-3 lessons with a class to share how to use the vocabulary with the teacher. This would work well for a student with social skill deficits that is in the general education classroom.
4. Great starting point- I will be using this every time I get a new kid that needs social skill intervention. This book is a great way to introduce everyone to the new “social thinking” vocabulary and can be used with ALL kids. We can all learn a lesson about expected and unexpected behaviors!
5. Extension activities- There are additional activities at the end of the book to carry over after reading the book with your group! I love that I don’t have to think up great lessons and it is very user friendly. With all my IEP’s, caseload and assessments, it is nice to have a grab and go resource.