16th November 2015.
The Archie audio files are now playable again.
What's the Buzz? A social skills enrichment programme for primary students, was released in 2011 and found its way into dozens of countries and hundreds of schools and organisations. This 16 lesson highly structured, role-play and play-based program was designed to teach children how-to think socially and how-to make friendship work.
What's the Buzz? for Early Learners: A complete social skills foundation course is brand new (2015). It follows the same celebrated format as its predecessor. It's built for teachers, school support workers, parents, care givers, and a range of allied health professionals, to awaken social consciousness in youngsters. Over 16 lessons students become immersed in a variety of essential relational skills, stimulated by the experiences of our much-loved character, Through activity, discussion, role-play and quizzes, children learn how-to become a better friend and a more flexible social thinker.
Who is it for?
Both programmes are designed for all children, but are especially valuable for those who struggle to appreciate the free-flowing reciprocal nature of social interactions. It has proven to be helpful for children with higher-functioning forms of autism spectrum disorders, those identified with language disorder, specific learning difficulties, auditory processing disorder, non-verbal learning disorder, pervasive developmental disorder - not otherwise specified, ADHD, reactive behaviours, anxiety, shyness and social phobia.
Why teach social and emotional literacy to children?
Collective research confirms that without explicitly teaching children how-to successfully connect we run the risk of some becoming discouraged, or worse. Sadly, when young human beings can't find a way to belong to peers a 'faulty logic' clicks in allowing them to believe that what they're doing is working, even though it is not - their thinking becomes stuck! Teaching social and emotional literacy with the same commitment and vigour we've traditionally taught academic skills increases a young person's confidence and competence to get along with others and embrace life.
What is the programme's evidence of effectiveness?
The program's direct method of instruction is based on an extensive body of research referred to by the acronym 'SAFE' (Durlack et al, 2008). Such programmes have a specific structure and intent. They are;
Sequenced (show a logical step by step break down of each skill)
Active (use role-plays or rehearsal with feedback)
Focused (dedicate a period of time each day, week or fortnight towards teaching a skill)
Specific (teach a specific social/ emotional skill each session)
What's the Buzz? breaks each skill into individual components and directly models them so children can see how they look and sound. Social thinking is also highlighted through role-play, rehearsal, feedback and play-based activities in the context of either a small group or as a whole class approach. In this way children gain the understandings, the language and confidence required to transfer the newly acquired skills to other settings (Attwood, 2007; Durlack et al, 2008; Godfrey, Pring& Gascoigne, 2005; http://www.casel.org).
Scope and sequence
What's the Buzz? is designed for lessons to be presented sequentially with mainstream classes, or with smaller specifically 'targeted' groups. While we recommend a sequential plan, scope exists to select individual lessons to strengthen a particular set of social/communication skills within your groups. The predictable format builds familiarity for facilitators and students alike. With this in mind, each lesson is presented within the following design;
Key Social Principle; alerts facilitator(s) to the key skill components to be delivered
Materials required for the lesson
What's the Buzz - introduces students to the topic and the new set of skills to be learned
Show me the Buzz - gives students the opportunity to role-play and show they understand the new skill set
Do you know the Buzz? - a fast moving quiz time for students to consolidate key concepts
The Buzz - students play social games to have fun together and build their newly learned skills
Goodbye Buzz - Let's finish up together on a good note, and in What's the Buzz? for Early Learners find out how Archie fixed his social problem!
After the Buzz, social thinking ideas for parents and caregivers; this section offers practical advice that can be placed into practice at home to build on to the skills introduced in the lesson. They can be downloaded as a Word doc from www.whatsthebuzz.net.au to be handed to parents, or used in school newsletters
Attwood, T., 2007, The complete guide to Asperger's Syndrome, Jessica Kingsley Publishers, London.
Durlak, J.A., Weissberg, R.P., Dymnicki, A.B., Taylor, R.D., Shellinger K.B., 2008, 'Enhancing students' social and emotional learning promotes success in school: A meta-analysis'.
Godfrey, J., Pring, T., Gascoigne, M., 2005, 'Developing children's conversational skills in mainstream schools: An evaluation of group therapy', Child Language Teaching and Therapy 21 (3), 251-262.