The students in your classroom come from a variety of backgrounds, and many of them might not have the social skills you’d expect them to have at their age. Because of this, it may fall onto you to teach your students how to behave in social situations. This can play a key role in classroom management, which you can read more on in this article.
If you’re in the education field you should understand why, when, and how to teach social skills. Read below so you can fully understand the reason behind teaching social skills and how to teach them. Learn social styles in an online class, and teach them to your students.
Why You Should Teach Social Skills to Your Students
Because students come from a variety of backgrounds, many of them lack the social skills that they should have at their age. Teaching your students the proper social skills will increase their productivity and give you more instruction time. You can help students improve their daily social functioning, and they will be able to make new friends. This will increase their self-confidence, self-concept, and self-esteem. Take a class to increase the self-esteem in children.
When You Should Teach Social Skills to Your Students
It’s important that you teach social skills to your students all the time. Great times to really focus on it is when a student is being isolated or when a student appears socially lacking. Rather than pointing out that student, you can do lessons that would improve or remind students of their own social skills. Take a class in boosting confidence to teach your students the techniques you learn.
How You Should Teach Social Skills to Your Students
Social skills can be taught as whole class lessons, group lessons, or individual work lessons. The greatest part about teaching your students social skills is that they can be crossed with other skills and topics, allowing you to fulfill common core standards while teaching them vital skills for their future lives. Some of the common areas to cover in social skills are hygiene, manners, listening, being polite, considerate, and respectful to others, sharing and taking turns, appropriate words and touching, and how to behave in certain social situations. Take a class to discover the ten apps you need for your classroom.
Great Lesson Plans and Activities to Teach Social Skills to Your Students
Any great teacher can tell you that you can save yourself a lot of time and energy by using other teacher’s lesson plans and designed activities. Below are several lessons designed by others that you can use to teach your students social skills. Some of these involve other supplies so be sure to check the lesson plans carefully.
Lesson Plan One: Being Prepared for Class
This particular lesson is taken from a sample of More Tools for Teaching Social Skills in School Grades 3-12 by Midge Odermann Mougey, Jo C. Dillon, and Denise Pratt. This is an excellent lesson that can also help your students understand a basic common classroom management rule – being prepared when in the classroom.
Teaching your students to be prepared for class also teaches them to be organized and take responsibility for their own space and their own things. This lesson begins with a brainstorming session. You should ask your students to explain what it means to be prepared for class, and you should have them give examples. You should also have them discuss the reasons why this particular skill is important.
Make sure you write down the items brainstormed by your students. The lesson includes examples for the reasons this skill is necessary, and you can feel free to share them with your students if they don’t come up with them on their own. After the brainstorm session, you should tell them the steps involved in being prepared for class. Be sure to include a rationale for each step so they understand why they should follow these steps.
Along with the lesson, there are also suggested activities that go along and allow you to connect this lesson to the common core standards they might need to complete in other subjects. One of the suggested activities is for Language Arts and involves Paul Dunbar’s poem called Preparation. There’s another activity for history that involves writing a report about a historical event and the planning involved.
Along with those two activities, there are role play activities available to allow the students a chance to play out situations that show what would happen if they were prepared and what happens if they’re not. There are also printouts that go along with the lesson including a think sheet and the steps a student should take to be prepared. This printout of the steps would be a great one to print out poster size and post in the classroom.
Lesson Plan Two: What is a friend?
This lesson designed by Jerry Webster uses the book Friendship According to Humphrey by Betty G. Birney. One of the great things about this particular lesson is the way it’s set up. It’s simple and easy for a teacher to read with the objectives right at the top and materials needed right underneath that. The procedure is laid out for you, and it gives a class assignment, an individual assignment, and a group assignment.
Jerry Webster’s lesson is to help students identify their friends and qualities that friends have. There’s a discussion in which you would ask your students who their friends are, and you would share your friends too. You would then read some of the book Friendship According to Humphrey, and you would ask the students questions about the book.
After discussing the book, the students are given an opportunity to draw a picture of their friend, label it with their friend’s name, and write things they like about their friend. You would then separate the students into groups and have each group list qualities they think a friend should have. This is a great, simple lesson for lower grades or special education.
Lesson Plan Three: Using Polite Words
One of the worst things plaguing our society these days are children that don’t know how to be polite. They can’t do so much as say “excuse me” as they shoot past you or squeeze past you in the grocery store. Teach your students a better way with a lesson plan done by a person with the screen name CrunchingLeaves. Like the first lesson on being prepared for class, this lesson uses role play activities.
You begin the lesson with a discussion regarding polite words like please, thank you, excuse me, and I’m sorry. You should also tell your students that using these words shows respect and appreciation to the people around them. Allow the students a chance to tell you what they know about polite words, and don’t be surprised if you have some students that don’t know anything about them.
The lesson then continues with a list of role play scenarios. You prepare for the lesson by taking these role play scenarios and putting them on card stock or flashcards to be passed out to each group. The students will be given an opportunity to come up with a skit that deals with the scenario they were given, and they will then present it to the class. There’s also a list of books that you can read to the class or put in the class library for students to read.
Worksheets for Social Skills
Children learn in different ways, and some of your students will not be very eager to join in on the role playing skits. Try to encourage them to join in as that’s part of social skills, but you can also accommodate them and give the entire class more practice on social skills with some worksheets specially designed for this particular topic. The Worksheets has an awesome list of worksheets available just for social skills, which you can preview and then download. A few great ones from the website are listed below.
101 Ways to Teach Children Social Skills by Lawrence E. Shapiro
This entire book is a free, reproducible activity book that you can use for your classroom. There are a number of excellent activities in this book on a number of different topics. There are activities on communicating (including nonverbal communication), being in a group, how to express feelings, and so much more. You could easily find an activity for any social situation within this book.
Another great thing about this book is that it’s not just reproducible worksheets. There are actually brief lessons included before the activity, and you can easily find ways to expand on them. Most of the lessons are short, not more than a page long, and the worksheets fit in perfectly with the lessons.
Social Skills Practice Pack (Chapter 7) taken from Supporting, Speech Language and Communication Needs
Taken from a larger book by Kate Ripley and Jenny Barret, this selection is an excellent tool because it includes activities and games for social skills. You could probably use these activities and games with some of the lessons and worksheets from the above book. Following the list of activities and games are worksheets that you can use to rate a child’s social abilities. This particular tool is great for schools that want to actually have a social skills program at their school because there are created letters to send home regarding a social skills group.
CESA 6 Media Center Catalog
Though not exactly a worksheet, this document could actually be a great asset because it is a list of books and kits that you can use for your classroom to work on social skills. Use this document in conjunction with the CESA 6 website to gain valuable resources, workshops, and products that you can use in your classroom.
Teaching social skills to your students can be difficult especially because you will likely run into so many students that lack them. Be sure to include the parents in the child’s progress. If at any time you feel that the student requires more help that you are unable to provide, don’t hesitate to offer other resources to the child’s parents where they can seek more help for him or her.