Learning and Sharing

Showing Interest

on March 8, 2013


So, what did you do over the weekend, Sam?   Do you usually bring your lunch from home or eat in the cafeteria?  Do you have a pet?  These are just a few of the topics that one might overhear typical 1st and 2nd grade students use to engage in “small talk”.

We think small talk is a big deal! With  some of our students who have  social thinking deficits, small talk is the most difficult of all communication and yet it is likely the most important communication skill when it comes to developing friendships with others.  If a student wants real friendships they need to engage with others in a way that shows that they value the friendship which means showing interest.

I found this great social skills packet created by available at

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One of the super heroes in this packet asks about others.  As a super hero he knows that asking about others keeps them thinking good thoughts and feeling good about him.  Others may think that he is friendly, kind, or interested in them.  Showing interest and asking about others is a great way to make and keep friends.

There is a card game to help us practice the art of showing interest, asking about others, and engaging in small talk.  Also included are Power Cards.  A power card is a small social script about the size of a trading card, that contains a small picture of a special interest and the solution to a problem broken down into parts.  It is made to aid in generalization.  These super hero power cards are terrific.

The 1st and 2nd grade lunch buddies groups had a great time!  The game cards with the “showing interest” questions really got the ball rolling with the small talk.

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In addition to the super hero game,  I used the validating word prompts cards that are available at

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The creator of these prompt cards, Joel Shaul, writes that, “Without the special lubrication of validating words and phrases, the conversation can fall flat”.  So true!!  The lunch buddies were happy to “sprinkle” these words throughout their small talk.

To find out more info about Power Cards, check out Elisa Gagnon’s book:

power cards

It has been a great week of learning the art of small talk.




One response to “Showing Interest

  1. Joel Shaul says:

    Hey guys, I really like the way you used the validation cards in combination with Power Cards. Jeez, you guys seem to use everything out there.

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