I don’t know about you, but around this time every year my students seem to spiral and loose control of attention and emotional regulation. The expectations of the season, increased social situations, and changes in routines are certainly to blame, making this a great time to revisit skills that are familiar.
One of numerous times I had the opportunity to hear Michelle Garcia Winner and Pam Cooke was in San Francisco at their annual Social Thinking Providers Conference. The point was made that we need to return frequently to base skills. Often we move on, perhaps referencing a skill in sessions, but infrequently returning and making the base skill the primary focus of therapy. Winner and Cooke make the analogy of a tree, with the roots in base skills that must be continually strengthened (fertilized?).
Whole body listening is one of those base skills. WBL was first described in 1990 by Susanne Truesdale in Language, Speech & Hearing Services in Schools. Truesdale asserted that “effective listening skills are a prerequisite to academic success.” Twenty-five years later, her words still ring true.
The wisdom of both Truesdale and Winner/Cooke is evident in that ALL my students and clients of ALL ages need to revisit and formally focus on listening skills. It is a skill they are familiar with and are at various stages of competency. Familiarity facilitates an increased level of success, an experience that is always beneficial but even more so this time of year. The trick is to present WBL in a variety of formats and contexts so that interest and attention skills are heightened. This is the premise of my latest packet, Whole Body Listening Elves.
At the center is an elite group of Santa’s elves known as the Whobles (Whole Body Listening Elves). They get to do all the really cool stuff, like load Santa’s sleigh and ride on Christmas Eve. Jingle makes toys at Santa’s workshop and aspires to become a Whoble. Lucky for Jingle when he is accepted into Whoble training! Students help Jingle along the way by completing activities and role play.
They also create a flip-book version of the Whoble story for take home.
We made this craftivity (that’s me in the middle); templates are included in my TpT packet.
What base skills do you revisit frequently?