I was excited that Joel chose The Green Zone for me to review because I have two students on my caseload that are working on conversational skills (one in elementary school and the other in high school). It just so happens that there are two versions of this product - the Older Youth version and the Younger Child version. You can read my reviews for both versions below:
Both versions of the Green Zone come with a zone board, picture cards, a CD Rom with slide-based illustrated lessons and printable worksheets, a workbook, and reproducible wall displays. The Green Zone is all about finding "common ground in conversation". The workbook recommends starting with the picture cards and Green Zone board first to teach this concept.
Green Zone Board
The laminated Green Zone board (shown above) has a visual on one side and activity, game, and prompt suggestions for how to use the visual. The Green Zone board consists of a venn diagram with a blue circle, yellow circle, and green overlap in the middle. A venn diagram compares and contrasts two objects or concepts with the outside portions discussing differences and the middle discussing similarities. The blue and yellow primary colors blend together to create green in the middle, which adds to the visual. In the case of activities involving this visual graphic, the blue side is for what one person likes to talk about, the yellow is for what the second person likes to talk about, and the green center where the circles intersect is for what both people like to talk about. You can work on teaching this concept by using the cards in the back of the booklet or a dry erase marker on the board. the cards are color coded for each player so that they can have a copy of each topic and know which side of the board to place it on (or in the middle if it is a topic they have in common). In addition, the visuals on the cards are great for clients who learn better visually or who cannot read. Otherwise, use a dry erase marker to write on either side or the middle of the board for clients who can read or are adolescent/adult. for more ideas on how to use the board, look at the back side of the board.
Using lessons on the CD-ROM is the next recommended step in the program. This CD-ROM includes The Green Zone slides, worksheets, and wall displays in MS PowerPoint format.
PowerPoint Slideshow Lessons
On the CD-ROM, there is a PowerPoint presentation to help teach the concepts of The Green Zone. In addition, there is a separate presentation to help clients practice what they have learned.
Worksheets that "offer supplemental support for the lessons" come in a workbook as well as on the CD-ROM. It is recommended that you use these along with the PowerPoint lessons as they come up. These include what the zones are, how to keep the zones in mind when giving compliments, making comments, and asking questions, making inferences based on conversations, and practicing strategies in everyday situations.
The printed and binded workbook is well organized with recommended use of the product at the beginning and a table of contents. Each chapter builds on the last with information about the Green Zone and how to keep it in mind when talking to others in conversation. In addition, it is printed on quality paper, contains a place to hold both the CD-ROM and conversational picture interest cards, contains the laminated Green Zone board, and is easy to carry.
Finally, the wall displays encourage carryover into the classroom and everyday settings. You can print them and place them throughout the classroom to remind students to stay on topic and talk about shared interests.
Role Play, Activities, and Specific Language
It is encouraged that you role play situations in which students would use Green Zone conversational strategies and wording to reinforce skills learned in the lessons. This is great for reinforcement and real-life practice of skills, perspective taking, feedback in everyday and contrived situations, and more. For example, the therapist should use specific wording such as "I noticed you were talking in the Green Zone, great job!". Here are three terms related to the Green Zone products/lessons:
The Green Zone is where both conversational partners talk about similar interests.
The No Zone is where one conversational partner talks only about his or her interests that do not interest the other person.
The Bright Green Zone is where one conversational partner talks about the other persons' interests (asks questions, gives compliments, makes comments, etc.) even though he or she does not share the interest of the other person.
Joel Shaul also shows on his slides as well as via a YouTube video an activity involving three glasses, water, and food coloring to assist in teaching the Green Zone concept. One glass has blue food-colored water which represents one persons' interests, one glass of yellow food-colored water which represents another persons' interests, and the middle glass which is empty. Pour both glasses with water/food coloring into the empty middle glass. These colors will combine to make the color green in the third glass which represents the Green Zone. The YouTube video below explains this concept in more detail.
What I Like About This Product:
- I love the fact that you can teach the concept of finding common ground in conversation in many different ways - visuals, worksheets, activities, role-playing, hands-on, writing, and more.
- The product comes with so many different parts and this makes it worth the money. It contains PowerPoint lessons in a slideshow, worksheets, a laminated board, picture conversational interest cards, a workbook, and wall displays.
- You can purchase the Older Youth version for adolescents with autism or pragmatic disorders or Younger Child version for children with autism or pragmatic disorders. This way, the documents and lessons included will have pictures, information, and text oriented to the age-level of your clients.
- The Green Zone board, worksheets, role play ideas, and wall displays are great to focus on carryover into everyday conversation.
- Not everyone has MS PowerPoint on his or her computer, so it would be nice to have Adobe PDF versions of the files as well.
- The picture cards are not laminated and I would definitely like laminated versions. In addition, it would be great if there were some blank cards to write on (with dry erase marker perhaps) to create interest cards for the individual.
- Choosing appropriate topics - The Green Zone board and worksheets help children and adolescents determine common interests to talk about with peers, family, and adults.
- Remaining on topic/changing conversational topics - The Green Zone board and wall displays help children and adolescents remain on an appropriate, shared interest topic. If the conversation is changed to one persons' interest only, you can remind the child/adolescent to stay out of the "No Zone" and get back into the "Green Zone".
- Talking about others interests - The worksheets and Green Zone board help clients determine what others interests are as well as how to talk in the "Bright Green Zone" even if they are not interested.
- Inferencing - The Green Zone worksheets and PowerPoint lessons help clients make inferences based on what they see or hear others doing to help them determine appropriate conversational topics with a specific person.
- Complimenting others - The Green Zone worksheets and PowerPoint lessons help clientss determine what another persons' interest might be, even if it is not one's own interest, and use phrases to compliment them on their interest or success.
- Commenting in conversation - The Green Zone worksheets and PowerPoint lessons help clients listen to others in conversation and make comments on their interests.
- Not talking about the same subject all the time - The Green Zone as a whole helps clients recognize that not everyone has the same interests and we must not only talk about what we are interested in all the time. It helps clients be able to determine when it is okay to talk about their interests and for how long as well as helping them realize that they must share the conversation with the other person and talk about their interests.
- Asking questions in conversation - The Green Zone worksheets and PowerPoint lessons help clients listen to others in conversation and ask appropriate questions related to the other persons' interests.
The Green Zone's Older Youth or Younger Children versions can be purchased from Autism Teaching Strategies for $49.95. With all that is included, I believe that this is a great price! If you would like free samples of some of the worksheets in the product to try them out, visit Autism Teaching Strategies' website.
I would encourage everyone to follow Joel Shaul/Autism Teaching Strategies on Pinterest and Facebook as he often will post about how to use his products as well as free worksheets and therapy ideas. In addition, visit his website at http://autismteachingstrategies.com to find more products, worksheets, and therapy ideas to help children and adolescents who have autism or pragmatic language disorders.
Consonantly Speaking was given a copy of The Green Zone product by Autism Teaching Strategies to review on this website. No other form of compensation was given.