Movie Time Social Learning: Using Movies to Teach Social Thinking and Social Understanding

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December, 2013
Anna Vagin, Ph.D., Foreward by Michelle Garcia Winner
Movie Time Social Learning: Using Movies to Teach Social Thinking and Social Understanding

Movie Time Social Learning is a unique tool to add to your collection of social thinking resources. A guide for teachers, therapists, and parents, this book presents instructional techniques and lesson plans through which to engage children in “a structured and dynamic thinking process,” as described by author Anna Vagin. A prerequisite for this teaching tool is Michelle Garcia Winner’s social thinking curriculum, as presented in the following resources:

  • Inside Out: What Makes a Person with Social Cognitive Deficits Tick?
  • Thinking About YOU Thinking About ME, 2nd Edition
  • Think Social! A Social Thinking Curriculum for School-Aged Students, 2nd Edition.
  • Vagin’s lessons provide practice to students through the medium of movies in identifying what they have learned and using their newly developed social thinking vocabulary. With the ability to pause, rewind, and replay selected scenes from children’s movies, Vagin allows students to re-watch social interactions while focusing on particular facets of social communication related to Winner’s curriculum. The last chapter of the book also provides guidelines for generalization of the skills practiced through movies into children’s daily lives.
    This resource can be used with high functioning, verbal students from preschool through to the end of high school. Depending on the student’s age, Vagin recommends different movies to ensure interest and relevance of the content across age groups. This resource can be utilized by parents at home to supplement social thinking instruction or teachers and therapists running targeted social skills groups. Regardless of the role of the adult leading the lessons, it is essential that attention be paid to the first six chapters of this resource, which provide comprehensive guidelines for effectively engaging students with this movie-based learning strategy. Specifically, Vagin details how to set up the learning environment, visual supports that can be used during lessons, and ways to phrase questions and cue students so as to elicit as much learning and practice as possible.

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