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The Socially Skilled Kids Blog

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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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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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 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...

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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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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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10 MUST TEACH, GOOD SPORT BEHAVIORS

 

 

Do your students struggle to demonstrate good sport behaviors? Do they truly understand what it means to be a good sport?

Many students think they know, but when I ask them, they can not explain it. That’s why I teach this concept explicitly in early elementary and to targeted small groups of upper elementary, as needed.

 

 

Good sportsmanship is so important in all facets of our student’s day. Whether it be working on a classroom assignment with their peers, playing a board game during in-door recess, an activity in P.E, or engaging in a class discussion. Good sportsmanship is a must, if we are to get along with others and make/keep friends.

Students with special needs often struggle a lot with this skill. Many of my students have a difficult time taking the perspectives of others and therefore feel they should always get what they want. This does not usually go over well with their peers.

 

How many times a day do you find yourself...

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HOW AND WHY TO TEACH YOUR STUDENTS PERSEVERANCE AND RESILIENCE

 

Something that I hear my teacher friends (and parents) saying over and over again it, “We are expecting our students/kids to do so much more than in years past.”

 Whether we are talking about in school or home/after-school activities, we really do ask our kids to do so much more than ever before. And yet, do we spend any time teaching them how to manage all of that?

We are asking our kids to do much more advanced academics and to play higher level sports, but do we spend time teaching them how to handle struggle and failure?

 

 

In my work, I feel that I am seeing more and more students breaking down because they are so uncomfortable with the learning process, with struggle, with failure, and without getting immediate gratification.

 

 

And on the other side of things, teachers are being pushed to add more and more and more to the work loads of their students, many of whom are already overwhelmed. Add to that a child who has...

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