Today’s in class speech/socials skills group at the High School went pretty well. Thanks to Bill Zimmerman and Tom Bloom, authors of Make Beliefs Comix. They sketched some basic comics containing speech bubbles and thought bubbles and “you supply the words to complete the book.” As far as illustrations go the comix are decontextualized, and there is is no background drawing. The only context is some written text that goes along with it, like “He tells her something important.”
For starters I sketched a speech bubble and thought bubble on the white board. We discussed what people might say and what they might think. Then we discussed the role of emotions on thoughts/speech. Finally we broke off into groups for the students to fill in some comix. Many of the students cannot read and write so they needed a staff member in each group. The results were surprising. Some of the more verbal students were disinterested but less verbal students were great at this activity. We finished off by sitting in a semi-circle and reading aloud. The students put up their hands in a silent cheer when their comix were read.
Make Beliefs Comix: Fill-ins
Target Goals: Perspective Taking, Theory of Mind, Expressive Language, Social Propriety
One caveat on using this creation is that some of the pictures can be odd, involving aliens, animals, and other quirks. Be sure to look through this carefully before attempting to use this in a session.
When working with the frum population, take a look at the Shikufitzky series by Shifra Blum. They are pretty funny and can also be described as decontextualized. Aside from the characters and minimal props, the humor is conveyed through language. Which makes this a great social skills resource.
Read the comic to the student/ have the student read it out loud. Start by contextualizing (giving context) the comic with the student.
Ask: Where is this taking place? Who are the people in the picture? ( The answers can be flexible but they need to make sense:) What time of day is this taking place? How old are the girls in the picture.
Ask: Does this seem funny? Does it make you laugh? If they say “yes” ask them why. Allow them to build their descriptive and inferencing skills as they do so. Many students may have a difficult time with this. This is where the speech therapy component comes in. Prompt: This is funny because…… Other students will not understand the humor and will not find it funny. In that case the SLP will give them the background knowledge necessary to understand the humor. Explain that needlepointing is a hobby. A hobby is something that people enjoy. If people truly enjoy something they usually finish it quickly. Sometime people have a hobby that they don’t really enjoy…in which case it may take forever to finish.
Let us know how it goes if you use MakeBeliefComix or Shikufitzy. Any other fun ideas involving comics? Scroll down to comment on this post!