During the COVID 19 pandemic our classes, like others across the globe, went online. At this time, preservice teachers learned about different disability categories and how to best teach all students. Instead of the content being presented by the professor, future teachers presented topics related to students with disabilities, and effective teaching strategies to reach and teach students. One of the disabilities we discussed was Autism Spectrum disorder, and a teaching strategy that we shared was a social story. Some students were familiar with social stories, and others were not. But all students wanted to learn more about what they were and how to create one. So, we took the teachable moment and used a class session to learn about social stories. During class, we had a bonus opportunity that students could do where they created their own social story about a topic that they could address in their classrooms. We wanted to share some insights with you about the process of using Buncee to create a social story.
What is a social story?
Social Stories were developed by Carol Gray in the nineties. They were created to help develop self-care skills, social skills, and academic skills by depicting how best to do these tasks with visual supports. A social story is a booklet that can help students with disabilities such as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) through skills, tasks, expectations, and lesson concepts. Social stories can be used to teach about content related to the curriculum, to how to stand in line in the cafeteria, to how to get ready for school. They can also be used as behavioral guides for students who may struggle with social skills. A social story can lead them through a step-by-step process with pictures and audio supports to follow. Social stories help with the comprehension of ideas by presenting images and audio in a more ‘concrete’ way. You can find out more about social stories here.
Social stories are effective because they allow students with ASD to independently learn and follow instructions. By focusing on each individual task, the student will easily be able to lead themselves through whatever the social story’s goal is. The audio along with the text assists the audio learners, as well as those learning how to read. They are able to read the words with the audio, allowing them to connect the order of letters to sounds. The pictures assist the visual learners in connecting the words to the pictures that they can see.
How can you create a Buncee social story?
- Determine the purpose of the social story and how it will benefit the student. Do you want your social story to teach an academic lesson or social skills?
- Who is your target audience? (age, gender, strengths, interests, areas of need, likes, etc.)
- Gather Information: collect information on the situation you are writing the social story on.
- Who is involved?
- What is the activity/lesson topic/expectation?
- Where will it take place?
- How long will it last?
- What will happen before, during, and after the activity?
- Customize the text
- Make sure the social story is formatted with a title, introduction, body, and conclusion.
- The text needs to be descriptive and use supportive language.
- It should answer six questions: where, when, who, what, how, and why?
Social stories should be created using vivid visual images, relatable characters, and supportive text. If you can include the child’s own picture in the social story that will help build a stronger connection with the text.
Best practices for designing a social story in Buncee:
Buncee can be used by educators to create interactive presentations. The user can use external sources, or sources already created by Buncee to create their presentations. Buncee can be used to make projects that look like books or comics with highly engaging visual tools. This makes Buncee ideal for creating a social story. It’s easy to create your social story using Buncee with these steps:
- Start by logging into your Buncee account
- Choose to work from scratch
- Create as many blank pages as you need in your story
- Customize the backgrounds for the pages
- You can have the same background on each page or a different background that relates to each page.
- Create text for each page
- Add supporting images, stickers, videos, or animations to the page that support the text
- Reseat steps 4 through 6 for each page of your social story
- Record audio supports for the text
- Preview your story
- Share it via social media, link, email, or download the PDF
Here’s an example of a social story made on Buncee:
Taking Turns: A social story depicting two girls sharing a toy at school during playtime. The girl in the story, Sarah, must wait her turn until her friend Emily is done playing with the toy.
Meet the Authors:
Tessa Carlin, Early Elementary and Special Education, Class of 2023 https://tessagcarlin.wixsite.com/tessacarlin
Sarah Manske, Elementary Education, Class of 2023 https://sgmanske.weebly.com/
Dr. Samantha Fecich
Dr. Samantha Fecich, Professor of Education at Grove City College, Host of the edumagic podcast, author of EduMagic: A Guide for Pre-service Teachers and co-author of Edumagic Shine On: A Guide for New Teachers.
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