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  • Coelleen Walter

    List of social skills along with specific strategies for teaching those skills - So important when using cooperative learning strategies! Ideas to help me teach my children!!

  • Zuzel Brescher

    Discuss the Need for Social Skills Before you can help students improve their social skills, they need to understand why these skills are important. You might have students Roundrobin problems they've experienced in cooperative learning teams. Then point out that most of these problems are caused by poor "social skills," sometimes known as "people skills." Share with them that even adults need to work on their social skills from time to time! Have them brainstorm lists of social skills to work on throughout the year. You might offer a few suggestions from the list on the right to get them started. 2. Select a Social Skill When teaching social skills, it's best to focus on just one skill at a time. You can choose the skill, or you can let your class decide which skill they need to work on first. I generally start by teaching the skill of Praising, and along with that I reinforce the idea that I will not permit "put down" comments. Select just one skill as your focus. You might want to work on a different skill each week, perhaps even creating a Skill of the Week bulletin board. 3. Teach the Skill This step is not as obvious as it might seem. It's not enough to say, "Be nice!" You have to help students identify exactly what they need to do and say in order to improve the identified social skill. For this part of the lesson, I use the T-chart shown at right. (A blackline master of the Social Skill T-chart can be found in the File Cabinet.) You can make a laminated poster for your bulletin board or create a transparency to use on the overhead projector. Write the social skill in the box at the top. Then ask members of the class to Brainstorm what students should do and say when they are demonstrating the social skill. The things that they DO are listed in the Looks Like column because this is what the skill looks like to others when it is demonstrated. The things they SAY are listed in the Sounds Like column because this is what the skill sounds like to others. T-Chart An excellent video called Time for School is available from a company called Model Me Kids that shows students exactly how to perform a particular social skill. The video is most appropriate for younger students or students with special needs, but teachers may be interested in viewing the video to see how social skills can be broken down into steps and taught. Model Me Kids started out with this one video and has now grown into a company that offers a variety of videos for kids who have difficulty with social skills. Students could complete the Sounds Like-Looks Like T-chart after watching the video. Examples for the skill of Praising: Looks Like: Thumbs up, Clapping, Smiling Sounds Like: Terrific! I knew you could do it! You're so smart! Way to go! I like the way you... 4. Practice the Skill After you discuss what the skill Looks Like and Sounds Like, you need to provide an immediate opportunity for practicing the skill. The best way to do this is to plan a structured cooperative learning activity to follow the social skills lesson. For example, if you taught Active Listening as the social skill, you might follow up with a simple Roundrobin activity. Roundrobin would be an ideal choice because each person takes a turn responding to a question, and everyone else should be listening actively to their response. A structure like Line Ups would not work as well because students are not as verbal during Line Ups. Here a a few suggestions for social skills and corresponding structures: Social Skills Structures for Practice* Active Listening Roundrobin, Think-Pair-Share, Mix-Freeze-Pair Praising Rallytable, Roundtable, Pairs Check, Showdown Taking Turns Rallytable, Pairs Check, Roundtable Using Quiet Voices Think-Pair-Share, Numbered Heads Together, Showdown Staying on Task Rallytable, Roundtable, Pairs Check, Showdown, Mix-N-Match Helping or Coaching Rallytable, Pairs Check, Showdown, Mix-N-Match Using Names Mix-N-Match, Mix-Freeze-Pair, Showdown * For more information about these Structures, check out Dr. Spencer Kagan's book Cooperative Learning. There's an entire chapter on social skill development. 5. Pause and Reflect Sometime during the structured practice activity, use your quiet signal to stop the class. Ask them to think about how well they have been using the social skill. If you have observed teams or individuals doing a good job with the skill, share your observations with the class. Challenge students to continue to work on their use of the social skill as they complete the activity. Refer to the posted social skills T-chart if students have forgotten what the skill Looks Like and Sounds Like. 6. Review and Reflect

  • Erika Long

    Social skills how-to teach...also under strategies, classroom management, whole class strategies----behavior reflection form with good content, needs a little tweeking

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