Inspired by Michelle Garcia Winner’s social thinking work, I created this visual for a few middle school students on my caseload.
Their teachers expressed concern over the students’ sometimes excessive participation in class; i.e., our students sometimes appear to over-identify with topics discussed in class which can lead to long anecdotes or tangents that take up valuable learning time.
Many times, the reason for excessive participation is due to students’ difficulty understanding the responsibility of being part of a group in a classroom and this visual can help!
This visual serves to explicitly explain why it’s important to limit class participation and allow time for other students to participate. It encourages self-monitoring skills as students are reminded that they have only a certain amount of opportunities each class to ask questions and/or make comments about what the teacher is talking about. Questions are represented by a question mark and comments are represented by a period.
I have included 3 versions of this visual, depending on the number of participation opportunities the student will be limited to (I let the teachers decide): 3, 4, and 5 participation opportunities.
Spend time in therapy explaining the “why” and “how” of the visual and also time in class with the student and his/her teacher(s) to demonstrate its use in the classroom context.