social skills ideas

Discussion in 'Special Education' started by bella84, Oct 28, 2013.

  1. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    Oct 28, 2013

    I teach a 30-minute 1st-3rd grade social skills group, and I am just about finished with a long-running unit. I'm having trouble thinking of what to do next.... I need some ideas for activities/lessons. The groups includes students with Autism, Emotional Disturbance, and Other Health Impairment (usually, but not always, ADHD). We do sensory-motor activities for about half of the block daily, but I need new ideas for how to fill the second half of the block. The group is large, but I do have 2-3 paras who assist. I'm looking for activities that can be done with the whole group as well as small group activities, as we can break the large group up into smaller groups if needed. Does anyone else teach a similar group? What types of activities or instruction do you do?

    Thanks!
     
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  3. Nate

    Nate Companion

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    Oct 29, 2013

    What have you done so far?
     
  4. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Oct 29, 2013

    That's a tough group to select a singular curriculum with because you have such a wide range of ages and skill sets with social skills. Something that works for a 1st grader with Autism probably won't work with a 3rd grader with ADHD.

    There are a couple of pretty good social skills curricula out there, probably my favorite being skillstreaming. However, sometimes it gets a bit dry if you don't add some extras into it.

    I'm really a big fan of customizing a curriculum based on individual needs of kids, especially with a group such as yours. I'd start with doing an inventory of difficulties they're experiencing as small groups or one large group. For example, create a survey for teachers and ask them to list common behavioral issues or skill deficits they find with each particular student, then find trends and create/search for activities around that.

    I'm sure we'd all be open to you posting some common skill deficits with us generating some ideas for activities too.
     
  5. SpecialPreskoo

    SpecialPreskoo Moderator

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  6. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    Oct 29, 2013

    We are just finishing up a cooperative groups unit in which we learned how to share ideas, compliment others, offer help or encouragement, recommend changes nicely, and exercise self-control.
     
  7. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    Oct 29, 2013

    It doesn't necessarily need to be one single curriculum for all students. I have to design all of the instruction, but I can have paras implement it if I choose to break the large group into smaller groups. This means that I could have two entirely different programs going on at one time - or even three.



    I'd love to do an inventory or survey, but the problem is that planning for my social skills group is low on the totem pole (I know. But I'm not going to lie and pretend it isn't. :(). I actually can probably arrive at a list of skill deficits or behavioral issues on my own for most of the students, without seeking input from teachers. So, that's a time-saving plus.

    These aren't exactly all skill deficits, but they're the "off of the top of my head" thoughts on how to best describe what these kiddos need.

    1st grade boy - lacks self-control of body and awareness of personal space
    1st grade girl - needs help socializing with peers, unwilling to engage in non-preferred tasks, loses control when faced with a setback
    1st grade boy - bouncy chatterbox, lacks self-control, occasionally handles setbacks poorly
    2nd grade girl - taking initiative, has low IQ but is a happy and kind kid
    2nd grade boy - off-task a lot, doesn't interpret social cues well
    2nd grade boy - no problems when on medication, off-task and hyperactive when not
    3rd grade girl - needs coping/self-regulation skills, cries and complains a lot
    3rd grade boy - needs coping/self-regulation skills, yells and displays minor physical aggression when faced with a setback
    3rd grade girl - needs help socializing with peers and interpreting social cues
    3rd grade boy - very smart, intentionally uses inappropriate language and challenges adults
    3rd grade boy - tattles, very hyperactive and off-task
    3rd grade girl - more internalizing behaviors like anxiety/depression, occasionally goofy/silly, usually quiet and compliant
     
  8. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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  9. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Oct 30, 2013

    Honesty is always a good policy :). Yeah, I'd still recommend skillstreaming as a good start. Cheap, research-based, rooted in theory, and a good foundation to build off of.

    In terms of the skills you mentioned, the first thing I'd say is that some of those issues are skill deficits, some are not. Many of those areas are also clusters of multiple skills as opposed to single skills. Some are also problem behaviors, but not necessarily their replacement skills. I'm sure that's obvious to you, but for sake of discussion I do think it's important to identify prosocial replacement skills as a first step to identifying next steps in a curriculum.

    So, for example, when you say...

    "Socializing" could mean a lot of different things, from social perspective taking to specific skills like initiating conversation, but could also be due to underlying social/emotional skill deficits or even developmental difficulties such as Autism. Social skills training might come in for part of the solution, but not all. So, what do you mean by "socializing?" Which specific skill deficits does she seem to be lacking?

    With the non-preferred tasks, you might find a social skill fix (e.g., tolerating non-preferred activities), but it may also be more of a motivational/performance issue than a skill deficit, such as social skills approach may or may not work.

    "Loses control" likewise might be a more complex set of social skills, but could also be heavily due to neurological issues (e.g., ADHD) or other "emotional bucket it full" kind of issues.

    So, I know you said it's not high on your priority list, but thought I would throw those thoughts out there. I guess if my time were unlimited and I were designing social skills activities, my first step would be to create individual plans for each child that needed them, and make a list of the skill deficits present with each child. Then, I would look at the most common ones, as well as the most foundational ones, order the skills, then create lessons from there. Definitely more work than just picking up a pre-made curriculum, but probably more effective.
     
  10. Rubyo1

    Rubyo1 New Member

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    Nov 9, 2013

    Thank you, these ideas are helpful in my ps room
     
  11. kevo2005

    kevo2005 Companion

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    Nov 25, 2013

    Have you looked into the SuperFlex curriculum?

    I LOVE IT for social skills.
     

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