Teaching Social Skills in an Elementary Class

For those of you who follow me on Instagram, you may remember that last year I posted photos of my weekly social skill lessons. I got a lot of questions about how I teach social skills so it's about time I addressed it!

Last year I started teaching social skills to my group of kindergarteners and first graders using the skillstreaming approach to social skills instruction. Skillstreaming is a method of instruction that contains four main parts:

1. Modeling
2. Role-playing
3. Performance feedback
4. Generalization

There are entire programs, camps and schools that are based on the skillstreaming model because it is research based and it works! My little version is a compilation of lessons and ideas that work for an elementary classroom with a limited amount of time! I set aside 30-45 minutes on Monday to teach social skills and we practice it all week for approximately 15 minutes per day.

To introduce and model the social skill of the week, my aides and I act out the skill together. Depending on the group, we can use a bit of humor and act out the WRONG way to do something (always gets some laughs!) and then act out the RIGHT way to use the social skill.

After the skill has been modeled, my students get to come up and act out the skill. This takes a bit of practice and modifications for certain students but they LOVE it! We practice role-playing every day that week to secure the skill.

Performance Feedback
After the students role-play, they are given feedback on their performance to show that they followed the steps of the social skill correctly. I give green points (Class Dojo) and a whole lotta enthusiasm to get them pumped up about their performance!

Generalizing the social skill is the whole idea behind teaching social skills! We want our kiddos to go out into the world and USE the skills, so when they can generalize the skill across all areas of their life it means that they have actually learned it. To encourage generalization, I point out that my students used a social skill and provide immediate reinforcement. For example, if a student asks a question appropriately I will say "You get a green point for using a social skill!"

Interested in starting this in your classroom? I have everything you need to get started below!

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