The Social Times
When it comes to helping kids with social deficits understand the world of social skills, Kari Dunn Buron is an expert. She has written books for young children, teens, and caregivers. She has also created The Social Times, a student magazine/newspaper dedicated to learning social skills. This award-winning resource deserves a place in classroom and home alike.
Each issue of The Social Times has the following sections:
The Main Event: The first article in the newspaper, it explains what a topic is (for example, explosive behavior), how to navigate it, and a “try it” box that encourages the student to start thinking about the topic and writing some possible solutions or interacting with others about the topic.
I Second that Emotion!: In this section, Kari uses her five-point scale to help readers understand an emotion and how to deal with it.
Coming to Our Senses: Deals with different sensory issues children may face, such as feeling tired or not liking certain foods.
Gets-It Knows: Readers submit social questions and “Roger Gets-It” answers (think “Dear Abby” for social skills!).
Something to Talk About: One of the editors (Winston and Claire) shares an experience from growing up and what they learned from it.
Fun Stuff: Each issue also contains a word search, crossword puzzle, comic related to social skills, and trivia facts.
Besides all of the extremely valuable tips, one of the things I like the most about The Social Times is its voice. Each issue is written as if another child or teen is talking to the reader. Do you know what that does? It no longer makes the parent the “bad guy.” Someone else is telling your child why it might not be a good idea to stand on top of someone in line, or how to calm yourself instead of exploding.
AAPC Publishing recommends The Social Times for grades three through nine. I’d put the bottom age a little higher. There is a lot in the newspapers that you could use with third and fourth graders, but a good bit of it mentions things that are not really on their radar yet, like dating and high school. On the other hand, there were a few things that I could use even with my six-year-old.
Besides being a great resource for one-on-one or family discussion, I can see this being used at co-ops or with a monthly club. Get together with a group of your child’s friends, have some fun activities, and discuss the newspaper!
In addition to the great information inside the newspaper, parents and teachers who order The Social Times are given a password to access a special part of AAPC’s website. This section puts more resources at your fingertips: handouts, discussion points, PowerPoints, sample letters, answer keys, and more. Classroom subscriptions–ten copies per issue–are available as well. If you are looking for a way to help your student improve his social skills, I recommend you take a look at The Social Times.
Last Updated: October 15, 2012
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