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HOW TO TARGET SOCIAL SKILLS THROUGH EASY VIDEO CONFERENCING GAMES AND ACTIVITIES

 

Remotely Teaching social skills can be an interesting challenge.  I have spent many years avoiding the use of technology in my social skills sessions.  I felt my kiddos got plenty of screen time, and what they really needed was face to face interaction.

While I still believe this, we are currently in a situation where we simply must use technology to teach.  

So how do you teach a social skills group on a video conferencing platform like Zoom or Google Meet?

By playing games, of course!  

Read my recent post about 22 Easy Games and Activities to play online HERE.

But saying it is one thing…actually doing it is another thing all together!

Our students are dealing with so much right now.  And on top of it all, they have to learn new technology and new appropriate behaviors to go with it.

I don’t know about you…but I have spent the first few weeks of remote teaching, remotely teaching my students how to behave appropriately on Zoom.  

Engaging in a group on a video conferencing platform, is quite different from engaging in a group in person.  To read my post on how to teach special education using video conferencing, CLICK HERE.

 

Some of the challenges my students have demonstrated while video conferencing are:

  • Trouble Focusing
  • Difficulty Staying Still
  • Walking Away From The Computer
  • Not Looking Directly At The Computer/Camera
  • Difficulty Listening To The Speaker
  • Not Knowing When/How To Take Turns
  • Talking To Others While In The Meeting {family members}
  • Doing Other Things While In The Meeting
  • Not Sitting At A Desk Or Table
  • Eating While In The Meeting
  • Being Silly While In The Meeting

 

Are your students having these challenges as well?  I have made a PowerPoint Slideshow to help you teach your students the Rules and Manners of using Zoom {one for Google Meet is coming soon}. I have also put his information into a Social Story Format, HERE.

I have also added a Freebie to my shop to help you teach your younger students to avoid the above behaviors, with these  Appropriate Behaviors while Video Conferencing Cue Cards.

 Grab This Free Set of Video Conferencing Behavior Cards HERE!

TEACHING SOCIAL SKILLS REMOTELY

 

Once you have your kiddos behaving appropriately during your online sessions, how do you actually teach them social skills?

Most importantly, as always, you need to know your students and know the objectives you are targeting.  We all know that.  But now that we are at home, working in our dinning rooms, bedrooms, basements and spare rooms…organization is more important than ever.

 

 

 

 

Before each session, I recommend:

Having your student(s) learning objectives handy to review.  Keep them simple, in bullet form for a quick and easy reminder before each session.

Decide on one or two objectives to target during the session. Keep it to one or two.  Managing a group on Zoom or any other VC {video conferencing} platform is stressful.  Be kind to yourself.  Right now…less is more. 

Choose your game/activity according to the objective(s) you wish to target in that session.

Have a data sheet and pen right next to your computer so that you can jot down any necessary notes as you go or immediately after the session.  Again, keep it super simple.  I prefer to use anecdotal notes most of the time.  However, if you need to take more formal data, try to keep it simple by using tally marks or occurrence/nonoccurrence data when possible.  I can’t stress enough how important I think it is to keep it simple.

Consistent Targets:  I think that just about every game can easily help you to work on a few consistent targets such as; good sportsmanship, turn taking, and attention.  Don’t underestimate this.  Record it and use it as a way to measure your students engagement and progress. 

 

During each session, I recommend:

Let the little stuff go.  I am a firm believer in keeping a target in mind and letting other things go if they are not truly important at that time.  Often we try to do too many things at once and we end up watering down our lesson/learning objective.  Stay the course, even if you have a few {or a lot } of bumps in the road.  ​​

Use high interest material.  To reach your students and keep them actively engaged, you will need to use their interests. For example, add in pictures of animals, legos, or trains {whatever their interest is} to any activities that you can! Assign “themes” to your sessions, e.g.  “This week, it’s all about dinosaures!” And then work dinosaurs into your activity. 

Fast Paced Activities.  Keep the activities fast paced and try to keep everyone involved. Avoid one student taking really loooong turns. You will often lose the others during that time. 

 

After each session, I recommend:

Give Yourself At Least 10 Minutes Between Sessions. It takes a lot of energy to teach remotely. You have to use a lot of enthusiasm to keep your students engaged. It’s very helpful to have a few minutes in between sessions to stand up, give your eyes a break from the computer screen, go to the bathroom, get a drink of water, etc.

Take Data Immediately. I don’t know about you, but I always think, I’m going to remember something that happend during my session….but then I do not. It’s important to jot down even, brief anecdotal notes, after each session. 

Set Up. When teaching remotely, it’s important to have everything handy and organized. The last thing you want to do is scramble for materials during a session!  Set aside items you don’t need and pull out anything new that you need for your next session.

I hope you have fun playing games with your students and I hope you find this information useful as you navigate the waters of Remote Teaching/Distance Learning!

 

Thanks So Much and Happy Teaching!

Cindy ~Socially Skilled Kids

 

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