Using Your Social Filter: Literature Link and Activity
I think the book, I Can’t Believe You SAID That! A Story about Using My Social Filter by Julia Cook, is one of the very best books written to help children with social skills. In this book, Cook discusses the importance of thinking before speaking.
RJ says what he thinks no matter how it sounds or makes others feel. His mouth is getting him into a lot of trouble. A rude comment at school earned him a detention. An insensitive remark at home earned him a scolding and made his sister cry. RJ doesn’t realize his words are wrong. He thinks he’s just offering feedback. It’s time RJ starts using a social filter when he speaks. With help from his parents, he learns he doesn’t have to verbalize every thought that pops into his head. In fact, sometimes the less said the better! (Amazon)
We have read this book 3 times this school year alone and I know other teachers and our school counselor has read it as well. The book clearly explains exactly what a “social filter” is and how and when to use our “thinking bubble” and our “talking bubble.” In class, these words have become part of our everyday language. We can simply stop and “Use your social filter! Does that stay in your thinking bubble or can it move to your talking bubble?” and the kids know exactly what it means.
This year, I took it a step further and created this activity to help further their understanding even more.
Using Your Social Filter Classroom Activity
After reading and discussing the book, I presented the whole class with a scenario. We had just finished creating our aliens in underwear and I told them that they DID NOT like the alien I made. I drew this picture on the board with a “thinking bubble” and a “talking bubble” and, as a class, we brainstormed things that belonged in each bubble. We used this image throughout the day to work through other scenarios as well.
After the group work, each student was given a simple scenario such as “a classmate comes to school with a new haircut you do not like” or “someone brought a birthday treat to school you do not like.” Once the students understood their scenario, they used the following activity sheet to record what their “thinking bubble” might think and what was okay to come out of their “talking bubble.”
Here are some examples from my students.
Scenario: A classmate is reading a really easy book (in your opinion).
Thinking Bubble: “That book is too easy. Do a different book.”
Talking Bubble: “Can I have that book when you’re done?”
Scenario: A classmate has messy handwriting.”
Thinking Bubble: “That’s writing is so nasty.”
Talking Bubble: “That’s great handwriting. So clean. So awesome.”
Scenario: A classmate has an idea you do not like.
Thinking Bubble: “That idea is horrible.”
Talking Bubble: “You’re idea is interesting.”
My students actually loved doing this so much, they begged to do it over and over! If you are interested in the templates for this activity, you can find them at the link below:
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