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The Socially Skilled Kids Blog

TEACHING SPECIAL EDUCATION STUDENTS CONVERSATIONAL TURN TAKING

 

Engaging in successful conversations can be very challenging for our kiddos with special needs.  Read more about why this seemingly simple activity is not-so-simple for those students, and get some helpful & free tips and tricks to help, HERE.

Probably the biggest reason that conversations are challenging for our students, is because, like so many things, there are actually many skills involved.  Conversation may be one word…but the skills involved in executing it…are numerous and complex.  They involve things like, Perspective Taking and Self-Regulation, which are often difficult for students with special needs. 

 

 

Here are my Top 10 picks for the most important skills needed to be taught to special education students, to help them engage in better conversations with their peers:

1. Physical Proximity

How many times have you seen your students talking to someone as they are walking away or as the other person is...

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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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CREATIVE WAYS TO TEACH 5 BASIC SOCIAL SKILLS TO 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 skills. 

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 I service: 

 

Sharing

Cooperating

Taking Turns

Using Kind Language

Respecting Personal Space

 

 

 

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...

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HOW TO TEACH YOUR STUDENTS TO GET ALONG

 

Do you work with students who struggle to get along with others? Do they argue over games and rules? Make other kids feel uncomfortable or annoyed? Act as though they are “in charge” of others?

While all children struggle to get along with others once in a while, for some, it takes explicit teaching and extra practice. 

 

In order to get along with others in a classroom, small group or play activity {sports team/recess/playdate}, children need to be able to engage in the following basic social skills; 

Sharing

Cooperating

Taking Turns

Using Kind Language

Respecting Personal Space

 

5 Tips To Help Your Students Learn & Practice The Social Skills Needed, To Get Along With Others

 

Tip 1: 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...

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CONVINCE THEM, IT’S OKAY TO MAKE MISTAKES

 

 

Do you have students who get really upset when they make even the smallest mistake? 

Do you have students who try so hard to avoid making mistakes that they get incredibly anxious and preoccupied with doing something “right?”

Do you have students who struggle to understand (or admit) when they have made a mistake that requires an apology?

I do.

 

I have students who will rip their papers if they don’t like the way something looks. They will work really hard on something and then, out of (what seems like) nowhere, rip it up and throw it across the room. 

It’s heartbreaking.

I also have students who are so afraid to make a mistake that they sit quietly all day and will not start anything until the teacher gives them explicit instructions.  They ask the same questions over and over, checking, to make sure they are doing it “right.”

Ugh…

And yes, I also have students who refuse to admit when they make a...

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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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