It seems that year after year, I see more and more children struggling to engage in even basic social skills. Why is this important? Well, we all know that children who struggle socially, usually struggle academically, as well. They tend to demand a lot of our attention, and struggle to make and maintain friendships. It is becoming more and more important to teach and support social skills in the elementary classroom.
This teaching, needs to be explicit, in many cases. It is not always simply, “picked up” in school.
Here are the 5 basic social skills that I like to teach in the kindergarten classrooms that I service:
Below are some creative ideas for how to teach these important social skills in your day-to-day teaching. I hope you find some helpful ideas that you can quickly and easily add to your routine.
Sharing Ideas: Create many opportunities for your students to share by making materials limited. For example, during a cut and paste activity, put out one less glue stick than number of children at the table. Support children in their efforts to share. *Note: Do not just tell them to “share” but rather lead them toward figuring out that they will need to share and how to do it.
Provide creative opportunities for your students to cooperate. Give students classroom jobs that require 2 people (or make the job require 2 people even if it is not really necessary), instead of every student having their own job. For example, one student picks up the markers, the other holds the bin. Could picking up markers be done by 1 person…SURE, but let’s turn it into an activity to practice cooperation (not to mention teamwork and negotiation). Give students extra recess time for working together and cleaning up the classroom quickly.
Turn Taking Ideas: Reinforce turn taking by highlighting it whenever you can. For example, when asking a question and calling on children who are raising their hands, tell them who you will call on for the next two or three turns, i.e. “I will call on Sue, Eddie, then Jessie.” The students will know that they are expected to wait, but will get a turn soon. This helps children with self regulation challenges practice waiting while decreasing anxiety.
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Thanks So Much and Happy Teaching!
Cindy ~Socially Skilled Kids
*Blog Post Originally Written 4/19/19