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The Socially Skilled Kids Blog

HOW EXECUTIVE FUNCTIONS AFFECT OUR STUDENT’S SOCIAL SKILLS

 

Functioning {EF} skills are the skills we need to complete everyday tasks. They are like the air traffic controller of our brains, coordinating everything we do, say and think. 

We need executive function skills to pursue our goals and to live independent lives. This means it's our job to find better ways to master teaching executive function skills.

 
 

 

WHAT ARE THE EXECUTIVE FUNCTIONING SKILLS?

 

The most commonly noted executive function skills are:

 

  • Planning
  • Organization
  • Task Initiation
  • Time Management
  • Working Memory
  • Metacognition
  • Self Control
  • Attention
  • Flexibility
  • Perseverance

  

Love visuals? Try this handy Executive Functioning Skills poster. 

 

 

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THE BEST WAYS TO DECREASE CHALLENGING BEHAVIORS IN THE CLASSROM

THE BEST WAYS TO DECREASE CHALLENGING BEHAVIORS IN THE CLASSROOM

 Challenging behaviors in the classroom are always a hot topic and could probably be discussed 

All. Year. Long.

But when you think about it, we really do talk about challenging behavior in the classroom all year long, because we talk about social skills. And I believe, that most challenging student behavior and inappropriate behaviors are a direct result of a lack of social skills. 

 

 

 

Of course, there are some mental health and emotional development disorders that can cause very significant child behavior challenges, for example, Oppositional Defiance Disorder {ODD} and Conduct Disorder {CD), but for the purposes of this discussion, we will be talking about challenging children’s behavior management issues that are most likely due to a lack of, or poorly developed, social skills.

 

This social skills deficit that is contribution to...

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UNDERSTANDING THE DEVELOPMENT {AND SPLINTER SKILLS} OF PERSPECTIVE TAKING

Engaging in social interactions successfully in Perspective Taking requires a lot of “splinter skills.”

While there is a scope of development of social skills and sequence for Perspective Taking, for our young children, development is usually uneven, and good social skills are often scattered; leaving us trying to figure out what to teach, much like a puzzle.

 

 

Spending some time figuring out, as best you can, where the student is at {in their perspective taking development} and which strong social skills are lacking is a great way to get started with Perspective Taking. Then, start your teaching with the developmentally earliest skill on that list, and move along up the scale as you see positive feedback and success in communication skills.

 

WHAT IS THE TYPICAL DEVELOPMENT OF PERSPECTIVE TAKING?

Here is a very basic overview:

Preschoolers: This this very early age, kiddos are just starting to figure out that...

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HOW TO RESPOND TO THE STUDENT WHO ALWAYS ARGUES

Are you a classroom teacher with a student who is always arguing and/or analyzing everything you {and their peers} say or do? Do they debate even the smallest of requests that you make causing constant power struggles? Do they become argumentative with peers, even those who are trying to be friendly to them, causing them to have few or challenging friendships due to this problem behavior? 

Having this student behavior management issue with a student who constantly argues can be very frustrating!

Figuring Out The “Why”

 

The first thing I always do, is try to pinpoint the reason for the behavior. Is there a direct correlation that you can pinpoint?

An effective teacher will ask themselves why the student engaging in this behavior. What is he/she trying to say? Beyond the words, what message is he sending?

Students who engage in this type of student behavior management issue are often seeking the best way to have control. They want to...

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10 TIPS FOR CLASSROOM MANAGEMENT TO RESPOND TO DEFIANT BEHAVIOR

Having to find behavior management techniques for dealing with defiant student behaviors in the classroom is a reality for all teachers. Classroom teachers, special subject teachers and assistant teachers, all have to respond to a variety of defiant behavior(s), sometimes, on a daily basis. Defiant behavior(s) also affects the other students who share space with those who are struggling. This post will give you 10 tips for classroom management that will help new teachers and experienced teachers with defiant behaviors.  

 

Some, experience severe behaviors. This post will address good classroom management strategies for dealing with mild-moderately defiant behaviors. These are behaviors that are unsettling and/or disruptive to your teaching, including; non-compliance, arguing and being rude and disrespectful.

*The strategies discussed here and the Freebies passed along, are not intended for significantly defiant...

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TEACHING TEAM BUILDING ACTIVITIES - HUNT FOR BURRIED TREASURE

 

What’s more fun than using a treasure map to find buried treasure?!  Honestly, I can’t think of anything.  But besides fun, there are soooo many social skills that can be supported while using a treasure map to find “pirate treasure.”  I like to use this treasure map, pirate theme activity when teaching team building activities and to support the important social skills concepts of Teamwork and Cooperation. Setting up a treasure hunt is a great opportunity to spark critical thinking within your classroom community.

After spending some time discussing and working directly on these two concepts, my students go on a treasure hunt as part of a team to celebrate all of the wonderful skills they have learned and practiced. Beyond teamwork and cooperation, this fun activity will also support; 

  • Self-Regulation
  • Good Sportsmanship
  • Creativity
  • Patience
  • Perseverance
  • Following Directions
  • Communication Skills
  • ...
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HOW AND WHY TO TEACH STUDENTS TEAMWORK AND COOPERATION

This time of year I tend to put a lot of focus on the explicit teaching of two very important social skills; Teamwork and Cooperation
 
Of course, teaching teamwork and cooperation are essential skills all-year-long, and are used in nearly every activity in school and in life.
 
For me, the importance of teaching teamwork and cooperation really seems to stand out, as I watch my students to playing sports and games at recess, and engaging in cooperative activities on the playground in in their classrooms. 
 
 
Teamwork and Cooperation are defined very similarly, and my students always tell me they are the same thing.
 
But there are some subtle and important differences that I like to keep in mind.
 

Let’s start with Teamwork

 

Teamwork is defined as:
 
A collaborative effort to achieve a common goal or complete a task.
 
 
Why is teamwork so important? 
 
Because we need to use teamwork in...
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CREATIVE SOCIAL SKILLS ACTIVITIES FOR TEACHING YOUR STUDENTS

 

We all know how important it is to teach and support social skills. Year after year I see more and more children struggling to engage in even very basic social interactions and social situations. This post provides 5 basic social skills activities you can use with your students.

It’s important to teach social skills, explicitly in many cases, to our students. From kindergarten, all the way through elementary school…and in some cases, beyond.

Here are the 5 basic social skills that I like to teach in the kindergarten classrooms that promote strong social skills: 

 

Sharing

Cooperating

Taking Turns

Using Kind Language

Respecting Personal Space

 

 

 

Below are some great social skills activities, tools, and ideas for how to teach these important social skills in your day-to-day teaching and lesson plans. I hope you find some helpful ideas that you can quickly and easily add throughout the school year.

 

...

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10 WAYS TO HELP YOU MOTIVATE AND ENGAGE YOUR CHALLENGING STUDENTS

 
How can you help your challenging students who are completely unmotivated and unengaged?  Having students who are bored, unmotivated and unengaged, is a huge challenge for teachers! Nothing is harder for a teacher than an unmotivated student.
 
Ugh! It can be so frustrating trying to reach them!
 
 

Here are 10 suggestions that I hope will help you motivate your challenging students.

 

1. Make It Less Painful: People are motivated to do something if it is less painful to do it than to not do it. When trying to motivate students, be sure to start by making doing the desired behavior, less “painful” than not doing it. In other words, try to make it fun, easy, and quick. 

2. Make It Successful: People are motivated when a behavior meets with success. It’s very challenging to motivate someone to do something if they always fail when doing it. If the child has a history or memory of failing doing it, you will need to back up in...

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BEFORE USING A BEHAVIOR CONTRACT WITH STUDENTS…

 

As a special educator in a public school, I see lots and lots and lots of behavior contracts!

The way I feel about a behavioral contract is the same way I feel about Social Stories… They can be very helpful when used properly, but are often over relied upon and can end up being ineffective without important “pre-work” and follow through with student behavior.

In order to be successful with a behavior contract, the student must have the ability to perform the skill asked of him/her. For example, even if you offered me a gazillion stickers {or dollars}, to join a pro wrestling team…I couldn’t do it. I just don’t have the skill. I might be VERY motivated to get the reward, but if I don’t have the skill, It doesn’t matter how motivated I am. I won't be able to accomplish this behavioral goal.

 

 

Often, we believe there is a lack of student motivation when they actually lack skills. Of course, lacking skills may...

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