Friday, March 5, 2010

That's Not Cool

That's Not Cool is an interesting resource. I am noticing that a lot of the educational interactives (and ads like this one) about online safety and cyberbullying are taking a strikingly frank approach. This may challenge our own comfort levels as teachers and clinicians, but is likely to get through to kids. That's Not Cool is definitely for older students, and will have elements you may want to avoid, such as scripts for dating teens who are dealing with a boyfriend's request for nude pics (!). However, there are also great interactive videos dealing with lighter aspects of establishing boundaries, both virtual and real-world. The "Two-sided" videos present YouTube (therefore, not viewable at every school) clips side-by-side showing differing perspectives on a situation. Students can then click within the video window (That's So Cool) and choose a course of action and follow the story to its resulting conclusion. The "Text Monster" topic, particularly, would be appropriate for all students starting to explore dating relationships, especially those with language and social challenges.
Yes, the stories are told using sock-puppet characters- here's one on an escalator!

Language Lens
  • That's Not Cool's two-sided stories can be a great way to explore story grammar, with an emphasis on which plans lead to which consequences, particularly (but not only) for students on the autism spectrum. This could be a good context to use story maps or Story Grammar Marker.
  • For students with social cognitive deficits, these activities lend themselves to discussion of social thinking aspects such as expected and unexpected behaviors, a key concept in Michelle Garcia Winner's programming. I do find that my teen social skill group members often want to discuss dating challenges, and I have had at least one client enroll in group specifically "to learn how to talk to girls."

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