In my primary social skills groups, we are working on Social Thinking.  Social Thinking is what we do when we share space with others.  We use the situation, think about the people we are with, figure out their emotions and their plans.  This helps us figure out how we will respond.  When we respond in an expected way people have good feelings about us.

This term our group is exploring the social thinking vocabulary and as part of our session, we are using Youtube videos as a medium to discuss, analyse and deepen our understanding.

I thought I would share with you the videos we have found and how we have used them.

Flexibility is the ability to bend easily without breaking.  This is a concept which we work a lot on with students. While we often start with exploring how flexible our bodies are, as well as other tangible items our destination is working on developing our flexible thinking.

Of course, the opposite of flexible thinking is stuck thinking.

To get buy-in – I often talk about making plans – when you get stuck you don’t get anything that you want, but when you make a plan you may get some of what you want.

The Videos

Bull Dog – 54 sec

This video is about a dog trying to get a bone through his doggy door.  The bone is bigger than the door – so flexible thinking is required. The video shows how thinking can get stuck when we repeat things that don’t work again and again

Discussion points –

  • make a plan
  • persistence – you may need more than one plan.
Oreo Commercial – 30sec

This video shows two children enjoying an Oreo snack.   The older boy is dunking his Oreo biscuit while the younger child has a sippy cup.  He tries to dunk to no avail.  He finally tips the drink onto his biscuit.

Discussion points –

  • Stop the video after trying to dunk in his brother’s cup and ask – What is another plan?
  • Persistence – try another plan and maintain your regulation.
A Cloudy Lesson – 1.58

This delightful story shows the story of a grandfather teaching his grandson about how to blow cloud.  It is a wonderful video where you can explore lots of goals including thinking with your eyes, feelings, as well as flexible thinking.

Discussion points

  • How can you change a negative outcome into a positive one?
  • The different emotions shared
  • Talk about what is in their thinking bubbles
  • Reflection on outcomes of plans
Seinfeld – Kramer and Papi Pizza Debate – 58 sec

Link to video

Kramer is at his local Pizza shop cooking with the Pizzaiola.  Kramer wants to put cucumbers on his pizza.  The Pizzaiola replies that you can’t put cucumbers on pizza.  We can’t let the people the right the choose any topic they want.  The conversation continues to include discussion about when a pizza becomes a pizza.

Discussion points

  • Do people have the right to choose?
  • Are there other considerations?
  • Can people have different opinions? Is that ok?
  • How do you listen to other people’s thoughts? How do you respond?

Ormie the pig  3.58

Ormie the pig loves cookies.  The video goes through many plans to get the cookies which are on top of the fridge.

Discussion points

  • Count the number of plans. Talk about persistence.
  • Monitor his emotions throughout. He generally is very positive until near the end.
  • At the end he doesn’t end up with the cookies. Discuss whether this is ok?  Sometimes we can put in a huge effort and still have an unexpected outcome.

Stuck on an Escalator – 2.29

This is a great video for demonstrating stuck thinking.  Two people are on an escalator when it breaks down.  Instead of walking up they stay where the escalator stops.

Many children see quickly how this problem was easily solved but the people were stuck in their thinking.

Discussion points

  • Stuck thinking
  • Many problems can be easy to solve, we need to be flexible.


Parenthood – Expected / Unexpected Behaviour / Size of Problem

Max turns up to Hank’s studio ready to develop his pictures which had been previously arranged.  However, in the meantime, Hank’s plan for the time has changed.  Max is stuck on the original plan and struggles to hear and understand Hank’s reasoning for the change in plan.

There is a lot in this video to discuss.

Discussion points

  • When plans change. Was there a good reason in the clip for the change of plan?
  • How do emotions change when plans change?
  • What strategies do you use when plans change to maintain the appropriate zone?
  • Size of the problem.
  • Can you think of some back up plans Max could use so that he can be flexible?
The Big Bang theory – Episode 1 – Sheldon’s sitting spot  1.11

Penny is sitting in Sheldon’s spot.  Sheldon shares many reasons why he needs to sit there.  In the end Sheldon sits somewhere else.

Discussion points

  • How do the others around us feel when we get stuck (e.g. sit in the same space)
  • Can we always have everything we want? For example, being first in line.  Is this fair for everyone else?
Elf the Movie – Santa Announcement  1.01

Elf is walking through the store with the manager.  He argues points.  These responses are unexpected in this situation.

Discussion points

  • Literal understanding.
  • What others think when you argue points without providing more information.
  • Size of reaction.
Sesame Street – Grover and Zachary Quinto are Flexible  2.44

Zachary and Grover talk about being flexible  Grover demonstrates how he can change his mind.


Discussion points

  • Things which can be flexible.
  • Flexible
  • Change your plan


We have had so much fun watching and talking about being flexible.  We hope you do too!