Tips to Tame 'Em: Week 4: Finding Time for Social Skills

I'll be returning from Italy in the next 2 days and I can't wait to share how our experience went! It's a little weird to write these posts in advance not knowing what will actually be happening 2 weeks!

It is week 4 of my first ever series/linky! 

And this is one of my favorite things to share!

I've said it once (maybe even more) and I'll say it again: I truly believe that a student can only learn if they feel safe. And one way to feel safe is to build social skills. I love that RC believes that the social curriculum is just as important as the academic- you can't have one without the other! So today, I'm sharing ways to integrate socials skills in not only the first weeks of school, but throughout the school year. The social skills I'll be sharing are all around RC's C.A.R.E.S. I'll be sharing children's books for each of the CARES as well as share some resources or activities to do with your students for them to practice and learn about the skill.

C: Cooperation
Here are a few books that you can read that have a focus of cooperation. I often will choose one or two books to read during the first week or two to introduce the meaning of the word, but I love to find mentor texts during our units of study to continue to highlight it.

Book List:
First Week Activity Idea: Give table groups a puzzle to work on. Discuss what it looks like to cooperate with one another, what it would sound like, and what it would feel like when you are cooperating. I found puzzles at the dollar store that were maps of the United States for even more educational content! At the end, talk about what they had to do in order to complete the task- how were they successful, what got in the way of their success and finally, when are some times when they will need to cooperate.
Throughout the Year: Provide many instances for group projects so students can continue to work on this skill in authentic situations. Assigning students different jobs is a way to ensure all students help, but try instances as well where they determine jobs that need to be completed and work together to decide what each role people will play.

A: Assertion
This is the most tricky one to explain to kids (at least I've found) yet, it's so important. It ties to bullying, speaking up for what is right, making your needs known- a lot of things that most kids need to be taught (especially the language piece)
Book List:
First Week Activity Idea: Role play and scenario cards are a great way to show kids not only times for them to practice being assertive, but give them the words and tone to use to make their needs known. I created this resource and have it in my store for only $1.75!

Throughout the Year: Help students realize they need help by having them self-evaluate after lessons. Sometimes, kids don't want the help because of peers, so try to have them evaluate in a more private way. For example, I have students use the Fist to Five scale and I either have students place the number by their heart so it is less public or write it on a post-it. I also keep an "open carpet" policy. Meaning, if kids need help in a small group, I allow students to come up at anytime for extra help and leave when they feel confident in continuing on their own (although some I may require to stay longer or "invite" up to the carpet).

R: Responsibility
I feel like students hear this word a lot but don't realize all the opportunities they have in a day to be responsible. Also, there are many great books about being responsible in many instances (environmental, for instance). Biographies are a great time to talk about responsibility.
Book List:
First Week Activity Idea: I can break out scenario cards for this one. This time the cards give situations and students move to designated corners in the room if that scene is showing responsibility or not. We discuss why a situation is or is not responsible. If something is not responsible, we talk about how we could could change the situation to become responsible. I made this resource and it is in my store for free!

Throughout the Year: After you have a sub, have students reflect on how they showed responsibility by completing a little reflection page for morning work. Also, homework is a great time for students to be reflective on how they are being responsible for their learning. We also have a bully prevention program called Olweus that we spend a lot of time (every 6th day instead of Morning Meeting). Click on the word to see other ways I have woven these CARES into our classroom.

E: Empathy
This is another one that is a little tricky for kids to understand. I found books to be a great way to discuss what it means to "walk in someone else's shoes" and to "empathize" with others. There are so many! 
Book List:
First Week Activity Idea: I've done a craftivity using the book Stand in My Shoes. We decorate and cut out shoes from a template (I hand drew one at school) and then students write different ways they can show empathy towards other students and teachers at school. We then display them in the room and hallway as a reminder. 
Throughout the Year: There are so many great books about people who go through difficult times. Further character study by talking how students can empathize with their characters and what text evidence supports it.

S: Self-Control
This is the easiest for most kids to understand- but not the easiest for them to practice (I have to say- it's the hardest one for me as well hehe)
Book List:
First Week Activity & Throughout the Year: Morning Meeting games and greetings are a great way for students to practice self-control. We do greetings like Ball Toss where we discuss the importance of tossing the ball carefully around the circle. To really make them practice, we set goals for how many drops we allow ("Let's see if we can finish this greeting and only drop the ball 2 times or less.") One of the best games for practicing self-control is called 4-corners. It requires students to walk (fast) around the room to a corner while one person counts down from 10. They have to be in a corner by the time that person gets to 0. The caller then calls out a corner and anyone who is in that corner is out. They want to run so badly, but that will also get them out immediately so it really forces them practice. Brain breaks are great also for self-control as they earn more brain breaks by having smooth transitions out of brain breaks... which requires self control.

Do you do morning meetings with games and greetings? I'm always looking for more!

These are the skills that as a whole school we really teach into, but one of my favorites to use and teach is the word Integrity. As much as I want students to show all of these other social skills, what I really want is for them to do them because it is the right thing to do- not because their teacher told them so. So I use this word all the time!

Now it's your turn:

You have 2 options

1) Respond to the question in the comments section
2) Grab the buttons and link up with a longer post!

No need to link up on Tuesday! You can do it any day of the week until the next Tips to Tame 'Em comes out!

Here's this week's question:
I'll be back "live" next week!


1 comment

  1. These are awesome!! I too like using books to introduce social skills!! Thanks for some new books to check out!

    A Tall Drink of Water


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