Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of Joel Shaul’s book, The Green Zone Conversation Book in order to complete this review. I did not receive and compensation for writing this post and The opinions expressed are my own.
I’m a huge fan of Joel Shaul’s website, Autism Teaching Strategies . If you work with students who are diagnosed on the autism spectrum, you will want to check it out. He has many innovative ideas for teaching conversation and social skills concepts. He explains the concepts well, has video demonstrations and provides free sample resources. I wrote about his RYUU dragon social skills program a few years ago.
I received this book in January and have been using it for over a month with my clients and I am really impressed. The basic concept is using Venn diagrams to help your students or clients understand the idea that we usually talk about things that we are both interested in. It starts by teaching the concept, having the student identify common interests and then progresses to teaching the use of comments, compliments and questions to teach the concept.
This book has over 100 full colored pages. It includes lesson plans for teaching the following skills/concepts:
- Learning about the Green Zone
- Identifying green zone conversation topics
- Learning about the three zones of talking
- Dealing with typical and unusual interests
- Using questions, comments and compliments to have a conversation
- Practicing talking in the right zones
In addition, there 23 bonus worksheets to use in your speech room at the end of the book!
How I used it:
This book makes it easy-you can start at the beginning and progress through the lessons as slowly or quickly as needed. I found that my clients really enjoyed identifying the common interests-the pictures made it easy for them and they were motivated by the fact that they were being successful.
Another favorite part of this book was the conversation interest finder. I used tokens with my clients to determine what interests we had in common. In a group, you could use this in conjunction with friend files. I loved the variety of topics included and that this book includes a set for younger and older students.
My clients benefitted from the sample comments, questions and compliments that were provided with this book. I had requests to make additional copies of these pages for them to take home and practice. I also had a parent who now thinks that I am “cutting edge” because this book wasn’t available at the local autism society bookstore yet.
This a high quality product. The only suggestion that I could come up with was that it would be helpful to have a CD or a link to print the worksheets at the end of the book.
If you work with students who have unique interests, tend to use monologues vs. conversations or who have difficulty participating in non preferred conversational topics, you are going to love this book. The cost is minimal at 30.00. I would recommend it to anyone who is doing social skills groups.