I came across this Christmas party idea on Pinterest that was clever and had some great social language application. I know, I can’t help it. My brain filters most Pinterest pins through a social language lens. Well, social language AND the beautiful Fixer Upper pins AND recipes that I may or may not ever make. Anyway, the gist of the game is to put a paper plate on top of your head and try to follow verbal directions as you draw specific features of a picture (in the blog, it was a Christmas scene). The person gets points for being as close to the description as possible.
My social language twist on this would be to use this paper plate drawing challenge to illustrate the need to use our eyes when we listen. Michelle Garcia Winner describes in detail why thinking with our eyes is so much more important than just eye contact here. She illustrates beautifully that we gain so much more information visually in our environment, if we look when we listen and observe. Hello non-verbals! So how does the paper plate game accomplish this?
Divide your students in to two groups. Have one group of the students try and complete a picture without looking (just listening) to the directions. Then, ask the second group to do a similar task while being able to look and listen. If it’s just you and one student, try the drawing activity with and without looking, maybe on different therapy days and then compare them together. This is an interesting way to introduce the concept of visualizing and verbalizing too by encouraging your students to make a picture in their minds of what you are describing. It’s harder than it sounds for some of our kids!
Compare the amount of detail, the clarity of the picture, and how easy/difficult it is for other people to recognize what you were trying to illustrate between the plate pictures. What was missing when we couldn’t use our eyes? Hmmmmm. This leads to a conversation about the importance of not only listening, but also thinking with our eyes at home, school and in the community! For more ideas and support on teaching this concept from Michelle Garcia Winner, please check out her website at www.socialthinking.com . It’s packed full of freebie handouts and suggestions for families, teachers and therapists!
How do you work on the social language concept of thinking with your eyes?