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The Socially Skilled Kids Blog

HOW TO RESPOND TO THE STUDENT WHO ALWAYS ARGUES

Do you have 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?  Do they become argumentative with peers, even those who are trying to be friendly to them, cause them to have few or challenging friendships? 

Students who constantly argue can be very frustrating!

Figuring Out The “Why”

 

The first thing I always do, is try to pinpoint the reason for the behavior.

Why is 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 behavior are often seeking control. They want to control the situation, the conversation, the game, etc.  This is usually due to challenges with; Rigid Thinking, Poor Understanding of Empathy, Poor Understanding of Point of View, Perspective Taking, and Fact vs. Opinion. 

Some students also have low self...

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HOW TO MAKE A TREASURE MAP AND HUNT FOR PIRATE 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 to support the important social skills concepts of Teamwork and Cooperation.

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

  • Self-Regulation
  • Good Sportsmanship
  • Creativity
  • Patience
  • Perseverance
  • Following Directions

 

Just to name a few…

 

 

Here’s how I made my Pirate Treasure Hunt

 

Material Prep:

Print Treasure Map on regular paper. To stain the edges of the paper to make it look old, dip a damp...

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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, 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 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 pretty much all...
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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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IMPORTANT THINGS TO THINK ABOUT, BEFORE USING A BEHAVIOR CONTRACT

 

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

The way I feel about behavior contracts 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.

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 do it. 

 

 

Often, we believe students lack motivation, when they actually lack skills. Of course, lacking skills, may then lead to a lack of motivation…after all, it’s...

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5 TIPS FOR HOW TO TEACH YOUR STUDENTS GRATITUDE

 

WOULD YOU LIKE TO TEACH YOUR STUDENTS ABOUT GRATITUDE?

 

The new year is a great time to work on the idea of gratitude, with your students. Below are some fun tips that you may want to try out to help children gain a greater sense of what gratitude is, how can we feel it and show it.

 

 

Tip 1: Have students share something that they are grateful for during morning meeting or closing circle. Challenge students by giving them some guidelines such as; people, places, household items, etc. 

 

Tip 2: Have a gratitude jar. Have a spot for a jar, special paper and pen/pencil and have students write short notes throughout the day/week about things they are grateful for. At the end of the week, read them before going home.

 

Tip 3: Make a gratitude paper chain. Have students write something they are grateful for on a paper chain piece. Add each one together to make and continue building a paper chain to hang around the room. How far...

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HOW TO HELP YOUR STUDENTS STOP CRYING OVER LITTLE THINGS

 

Do you have a student {or 2, or 3…} who cry over every … little …thing?  Ugh … It can be sooo challenging.  We love our kiddos, but when they cry over every little thing that they perceive as a problem {or major crisis} it can be super frustrating.  As well as difficult to carry on and teach!

 

 

As a special educator, I frequently get asked how to help these “frequent criers.” Of course, there are many reasons why a child may be crying so much.

First and foremost, I don’t take it lightly, as you never truly know what might be the cause of frequent crying. But if you have done some investigating and you are reasonably sure that there is nothing critically wrong, i.e. severe problems with the child’s home life, health, medical or psychological reason that may require more specialized resources to help… you may find success with a targeted social story.

Some children simply need to be...

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HOW TO TEACH YOUR STRUGGLING SPELLERS

 

 

Does your school system teach spelling?  A lot of systems do not have official spelling programs. Even if they do, they don’t usually extend beyond elementary school. And they don’t usually provide alternative approaches for teaching spelling for those kids who just  aren’t getting it.

So what do you do with those struggling spellers? The students that, in the fourth grade, still…can’t…spell.

 

 

In the fourth grade my son struggled to learn all of the spelling rules. He rocked at phonics in the early elementary grades, but beyond that…well, let’s just say he over learned phonics and could not learn and apply the many complicated spelling rules we have in the english language.

After watching him come home with poor spelling tests week after week in the 4th grade, I knew I had to do something alternative to help him. So I came up with some modified spelling activities that I thought would help him...

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SCHOOL’S OUT! THE IMPORTANCE OF PROVIDING CLOSURE

 

 

For most students, the last few weeks and days of elementary school are very exciting. But for some, it can be a very difficult time and behavior problems can skyrocket.

As a special educator, I see many students who struggle with anxiety over the anticipated transition(s) and as a result, experience an increase in challenging behaviors during this time.      

While many of our students love the idea of taking a long break from school and moving on to summer vacation, it’s important to keep in mind that some have mixed or even negative feelings about it.

 

Having mixed feelings about the end of the school year can look like this…

 

Students may feel; happy about no school work, sad about not seeing their friends for a long time, worried about whether or not they will like summer camp, confused about end of year and summer changing routines, anxious about what teacher they will get next school year…etc....

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6 LIFE SKILLS I FORGOT TO TEACH

 

 

As a mother and a special educator, I generally feel pretty good about my ability to teach children the necessary life skills for a successful future.  But recently I was thinking about several life skills that I didn’t teach, at least not as early on as I probably should have! 

 

 

1. Putting on/fastening a belt

My son recently got a job as a golf caddy. He has to wear a belt. Watching him try to put one on for the first time was truly painful!  Did I ever teach him how to put on and fasten a belt?

Nope.

All the kids these days wear jogging pants to school, at home, everywhere.  When he was little, I dressed him.  We don’t have “dressy” occasions to go to very often so he never even owned a belt until he started caddying. 

But there comes a time in everyone’s life when they need to wear a belt.  Teach kids how to do this before, they are expected to know how to do it… and become...

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