Posted in Social Skills, Therapy, Thoughts

Superflex Comic Strip Story – Social Thinking

Social Thinking is Flexible Thinking

Superflex®

Superflex is more than a superhero! It’s a curriculum designed to teach younger (primarily 3rd-5th grade) students how to regulate their behaviors and become stronger social problem solvers. Professionals and parents alike use this engaging teaching approach to help students learn about their own inner Superflex (their superheroic, flexible social thinking) and the related strategies they can use to outwit and outsmart various social challenges, represented by Unthinkable characters, such as Glassman, Brain Eater, One-Sided Sid, Mean Jean, and others.

Unthinkable Characters:

– Glassman (who causes our over-reactions to small things)

– Brain Eater (the social cognitive challenges we see most often in our students – distractibility!)

– One-Sided Sid (who gets people to talk only about themselves)

– Un-Wonderer (who likes to keep people from thinking about other)

related Unthinkable characters: One-Sided Sid, who gets people to talk only about themselves, and his sidekick sister Un-Wonderer, who likes to keep people from thinking about others. This clever duo tries to get students to do or say things that show they’re only thinking about themselves and not others.

Here is a Poster with all the unthinkable characters and the Superflex at the center.
If you haven’t heard about Michelle Garcia Winner and her wonderful series of curriculum about social thinking…get on it, school counselors! She creates such positive, useful activities. One of my favorites is herSuperflex curriculum (written with Stephanie Madrigal), especially for teaching strategies to defeat student-identified problem behaviors. Two of my favorite elements are the “Unthinkables,” characters that help externalize students’ identified behaviors, and the superhero representing proactive, strategic thinking that defeats these Unthinkables. If you click the link to Amazon from the picture to the right, you can see a full description of the curriculum, as well as a long list of detailed reviews.
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I like to use many of the activities in the Superflex book, but found that I was struggling to attach the Superflex strategies to students’ individual concerns. I stumbled upon a blank comic book frame, and decided to try out this format. I generated a generic story line on a blank frame for every student to use. {Find the free downloadable comic strip story frame here.} I also used the Superflex CD that comes with the books to print small versions of Superflex and Unthinkable characters so students could cut and paste onto their comic, but you could have students draw the characters by hand, as well.
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Students had already identified an Unthinkable that bothered them. They received a sheet of their chosen Unthinkable and Superflex. Then each student created a problem that comes up for them at school, and made a plan for which Superflex strategy could be used to defeat that Unthinkable. When they finished, I made copies to send with them, their teacher(s), and their parent(s) or guardian(s). Here is a sample I created as an example:
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{To see a student-generated comic strip about the Unthinkable, Rock Brain, being defeated, scroll to the top of this post.}

I believe this activity can enhance students’ understanding of the steps in identifying their Unthinkable’s suggestions and a Superflex strategy that could work to defeat the Unthinkable. Many students reported that they felt the comic strip helped them to better remember the strategies, and even asked to make more to remember multiple strategies. This activity was in addition to the many activities already included in the curriculum.

So give it a try with your students! And if you do, will you let us know how it goes?

Comic Strip Story PDF to download and print out: Comic Strip Story

Author:

Mother, Pediatric Nurse and a Trail Blazer for Positive Change.

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