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The Socially Skilled Kids Blog

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...

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EASY DISTANCE LEARNING & REMOTE TEACHING ACTIVITIES TO PLAY WITH STUDENTS ONLINE

Most of us are Remote Teaching/Distance Learning these days.  Have you started?  It can be tricky.

First, you need to teach your students how to appropriately access the technology that you will using, e.g. Zoom, Google Meet, etc. {Read all about that and grab a free PowerPoint about the rules and manners to use on Zoom, HERE. }

Next, you need to have things to do that are easy and fun!

Many of our kiddos are easily distracted and have challenges focusing on peers, in person.  Socializing online, can be even more tricky.

We need to have fun activities to keep our students engaged.  They need to be fairly short in length {under 20 minutes} and they need to be super easy for both teacher and student to access, i.e. low prep. and few materials needed.

Why?

Well… certainly we all come to this situation with a different skill set, but many of us are not technology experts and on top of that, we may be feeling the stress of everything that is going on with...

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HOW TO TEACH STUDENTS TO MAKE COMMENTS DURING CONVERSATIONS

 

Many students with special needs struggle to engage in conversations.  Why?  Well, there could be many reasons related to each child’s specific set of challenges and abilities.  But the biggest reason, in my mind, is the number of skills needed, to successfully engage in a conversation.

There are literally dozens of skills needed.  On top of that, these skills change based on the type of conversation, the number of people involved, etc.

Oy! 

 

Is it any wonder that engaging in conversations is challenging for our kiddos!

In my blog post, Teaching Conversational Skills To Special Education Students, you can learn about how and why to teach conversational skills to your special students.  You can also sign up to join us in The Teacher’s Lounge and grab a great Freebie: Conversation Poster and Tips & Tricks to engaging in a conversation.

Something I spend a lot of time on with my students is, Responding To Others in a...

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HOW TO TEACH STUDENTS TO ASK QUESTIONS

Have you ever watched a group of your special education students having a “conversation?”  It can be very awkward, to say the least.  To be fair, I see similar behaviors when watching regular education students too. The students are talking…but are they having a true conversation?

A conversation is defined as a back and forth verbal exchange between two or more individuals.  Of course there is sooooooo much more to it.  Click Here to read the post with my top 10 recommended social skills needed to have a great conversation.  One of those very important skills is to RESPOND to others.  

When I watch my students{who haven’t used my strategies for having great conversations} engaging in a conversation… what I typically see is one child talking, then another child talking, then another…usually overlapping each other, rarely on the same topic, and sometimes with little to no regard for each other.

One of the...

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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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PERSPECTIVE TAKING: THE MOST IMPORTANT SKILL TO TEACH!

 

WHY IS PERSPECTIVE TAKING SO IMPORTANT?

Perspective Taking is so important for children to learn because they need perspective taking skills to relate to others, to make others feel comfortable around us, and to know how to influence others in a positive way.

To help children develop and improve their perspective taking skills, we need to first explain what perspective taking is, then provide many examples of situations which would require good perspective taking, in order to have a successful social experience.

In other words, define it and practice it.

 

Define it:

Perspective Taking is understanding something from someone else’s point of view.

*Note: You do not have to agree with someone, to understand their perspective. Understanding someone’s perspective means that you can cognitively understand why they are doing, thinking or saying something; but it does not mean that you have to agree with it. 

For example; if a student can take the...

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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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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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