Movie Time Social Learning

Anna Vagin

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  • Ages: 4-18
  • Pages: 162
  • Format: Paperback
  • ISBN: 9780982523193
  • Published: 2012


When we are in face-to-face interactions, there is no pause, rewind, or replay buttons. But in Movie Time Social Learning, there are!

One of the greatest challenges in how to think socially is finding interesting, imaginative, and enjoyable ways for students of all ages to study complex social situations. Movie Time Social Learning takes an activity many students already love—watching stories on our screens, whether movies, TV shows or YouTube clips—and uses them as a springboard to study how we make sense of people in context. Dr. Vagin provides numerous social emotional teaching strategies and tips for teaching three different types of social learning styles. By hitting the pause button, we freeze social situations and give students the all-so-valuable extra time to read context, interpret thoughts, feelings, and plans, make predictions about social behavior, and formulate narrative language to discuss social interactions.

Author Anna Vagin’s thirty years of experience and deep understanding of social learning shine through each page as she thoughtfully explains social concepts and provides detailed, fine-tuned lessons for seven different popular movies that students will recognize and love.

About the Book

The Movie Time Social Learning method is explained via seven different easy-to-find movies (see list below) and their accompanying lessons. The movies range from short, simpler movies that can be used with children with more limited social thinking, to movies with more complex social interaction, better suited for individuals who are working on more advanced levels.

Each lesson plan identifies the clips used in the movie, and then for each clip, presents ideas and suggestions for teaching Spy Eye, Detective Head, and Me Too! tasks. These tasks help students develop their abilities to identify context, take perspective and make personal connections. The book includes a download link for all seven lesson plans as well as ready-to-print templates, handouts, and letters. The video clips are NOT included with the downloadable resources.

Read the entire Chapter 7 on Spy Eye Tasks here.

Read an excerpt from the lesson for the movie, The Indian in the Cupboard, here. 

Helpful Chapters Include

  • Places Everyone! Your Role as Mediator. Working with a movie audience of students, including suggestions for helping students regulate before they watch, strategies for sessions, and when to take a break
  • Mark Up Those Cue Cards! Knowing How to Help Visually. Using visual tools, such as emotions strips and feeling lists, thought bubbles, and text-based organizers, that can support student work
  • First Lessons: Spy Eye Tasks. Exploring context and the feelings, thoughts, and plans of movie characters
  • Practicing Empathy: Me Too! Tasks. Teaching activities that explore students’ empathy with movie characters
  • Off and Running: Generalizing What Students Have Learned. Applying knowledge learned to other contexts, including at home
  • And many more!

The Social Thinking Connection

Movie Time Social Learning incorporates the concepts, vocabulary, and strategies that are part of the Social Thinking Methodology. Lessons are based on social learning styles. The specific movies students watch differ depending on their learning style. No matter which movie they view, students participate in three different types of activities:

  • Spy Eye: Students think with their eyes to explore context and what each character is doing, thinking, and feeling within that context.
  • Detective Head: Students participate in activities that involve perspective taking and promote the understanding of more complex social subtleties.
  • Me Too!: Students make connections between characters and themselves to explore the foundations of empathy.

The Movies

The movies referred to in the book generally are easy to find; all were released between 2000 and 2009. Many clips are available directly on YouTube or Netflix. Movie clips are not included with the downloadable resources.

  • Movies for Junior Mindreaders (lessons for each included via download)
  • Frog Goes to Dinner (Scholastic Video Collection)
  • Knuffle Bunny (Scholastic Storybook Treasures)
  • No Roses for Harry (Scholastic Video Collection)
  • Whistle for Willie (Scholastic Video Collection)
  • Movies for Moving Up Mindreaders (lessons for each included via download)
  • The Indian in the Cupboard, rated PG (Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment)
  • Like Mike, rated PG (Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation)
  • Movie for Varsity Mindreaders (lessons for each included via download)
  • Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, rated PG-13 (Warner Home Video)

About the Author

Anna Vagin, PhD is a licensed speech and language pathologist. In private practice for over thirty years, her work focuses on social cognitive abilities of children from four months through high school. She frequently consults with schools and speaks to parent groups, private organizations, and national conferences on the social cognitive issues of children on the autism spectrum. She and her family live in Marin County, California.

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