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Building social stories with Buncee

Updated: Aug 5, 2023

Hi EduMagicians, Welcome to another guest post that was completed for Buncee. This post was co-authored by Tessa Carlin, Sarah Manske, and myself. Check it out below!

During the COVID 19 pandemic, our classes, like others across the globe, went online. At this time, preservice teachers learned about different disability categories and how to teach all students best. Instead of the content being presented by the professor, future teachers presented topics related to students with disabilities and effective teaching strategies to reach and teach students. One of the disabilities we discussed was Autism Spectrum disorder, and a teaching strategy we shared was a social story. Some students were familiar with social stories, and others were not. But all students wanted to learn more about what they were and how to create one. So, we took the teachable moment and used a class session to learn about social stories. During class, we had a bonus opportunity that students could do where they created their own social story about a topic that they could address in their classrooms. We wanted to share some insights with you about the process of using Buncee to create a social story.  

What is a social story?

Social Stories were developed by Carol Gray in the nineties. They were created to help develop self-care, social, and academic skills by depicting how best to do these tasks with visual support. A social story is a booklet that can help students with disabilities such as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) through skills, tasks, expectations, and lesson concepts. Social stories can teach about content related to the curriculum, how to stand in line in the cafeteria, and how to get ready for school. They can also be used as behavioral guides for students who may struggle with social skills. A social story can lead them through a step-by-step process with pictures and audio supports to follow. Social stories help comprehend ideas by presenting images and audio more ‘concrete.’ You can find out more about social stories here.

Social stories are compelling because they allow students with ASD to learn independently and follow instructions. By focusing on each task, the student can easily lead themselves through whatever the social story’s goal is. The audio, along with the text, assists the audio learners and those learning how to read. They can read the words with the audio, allowing them to connect the order of letters to sounds. The pictures assist the visual learners in connecting the words to the pictures they can see.  

How can you create a Buncee social story?
  • Determine the purpose of the social story and how it will benefit the student. Do you want your social story to teach an academic lesson or social skills?

  •  Who is your target audience? (age, gender, strengths, interests, areas of need, likes, etc.) 

  • Gather Information: collect Information on the situation in which you are writing the social story on.  

    • Who is involved?

    • What is the activity/lesson topic/expectation?

    • Where will it take place?

    • How long will it last?

    • What will happen before, during, and after the activity?

  • Customize the text 

  • Ensure the social story is formatted with a title, introduction, body, and conclusion.  

  • The text needs to be descriptive and use supportive language.  

  • It should answer six questions: where, when, who, what, how, and why? 

Social stories should be created using vivid visual images, relatable characters, and supportive text. If you can include the child’s picture in the social story, that will help build a stronger connection with the text.  

Best practices for designing a social story in Buncee:

Educators can use Buncee to create interactive presentations. Users can use external sources or sources already created by Buncee to create their presentations. Buncee can be used to do projects that look like books or comics with highly engaging visual tools. This makes Buncee ideal for creating a social story. It’s easy to create your social story using Buncee with these steps: 

  • Start by logging into your Buncee account 

  • Choose to work from scratch  

  • Create as many blank pages as you need in your story 

  • Customize the backgrounds for the pages  

  • You can have the same background on each page or a different background related to each page.  

  • Create text for each page 

  • Add supporting images, stickers, videos, or animations to the page that support the text.  

  • Reseat steps 4 through 6 for each page of your social story  

  • Record audio supports for the text 

  • Preview your story  

  • Share it via social media, link, email, or download the PDF  

Here’s an example of a social story made on Buncee:

Taking Turns: A social story depicting two girls sharing a toy at school during playtime. The girl in the story, Sarah, must wait her turn until her friend Emily is done playing with the toy. 

Meet the Authors:

Tessa Carlin Tessa Carlin, Early Elementary and Special Education, Class of 2023

Sarah Manske Sarah Manske, Elementary Education, Class of 2023

Dr. Samantha Fecich Dr. Samantha Fecich, Professor of Education at Grove City College, Host of the edumagic podcast, author of EduMagic: A Guide for Preservice Teachers, and co-author of Edumagic Shine On: A Guide for New Teachers.  

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