Social Learning News
August 1, 2020
Topic: People Files
Welcome to Social Learning. This is a page that will update weekly to share information and resources related to what is being taught in our Social Thinking Groups each week.
The focus of our first week of class will be for students to get to know one another and develop "people files" (a term used within Michelle Garcia Winners Social Thinking training and curriculum and written about in Think Social Publishing, Inc).
People files are invisible folders of information we store in our heads about people we know. Students will be encouraged to communicate with one another and learn about each others' interests, in order to make connections. Students will be taught the importance of body language, words, and actions when speaking with others, as well as what to do and how to act with our friends even when we are not interested in what the other person has to say.
Through activities, students will build curiosity, learn cooperation, establish connections with others and will practice active listening.
Helpful hand-outs for parents will be available weekly.
August 9, 2020
Topic: What are Social Skills
Last week we got to know each other and began creating "people files" and "friend files". It was amazing to hear the students express their initial feelings and apprehension about joining our group and then report that they were so happy they came because they were having fun and making friends. One boy said, "I didn't realize how much I missed being with friends." Now, more than ever, being social is difficult due to the isolation of Covid-19 and students are missing the interactions that school, sports, and activities provided.
We will begin week 2 by welcoming students who were unable to attend the first week and developing a friend file for those students. Developing friend files is one of many social skills or concepts that will be taught in our program. During week 2, various other behaviors and concepts that are considered to be a social skills including using manners, staying on topic, using quiet voices, looking at the person who is speaking, waiting your turn, think it don’t say it, sharing materials, accepting differences, following directions, and much more will be discuss. Activities and games will be played to reinforce the meaning of each of these social skill or concepts.
Good social skills and positive communication are the foundation of meaningful friendships and relationships. Some children are easily able to read social cues and adjust their behavior to match the situation or environment they are in. But others need to be specifically taught the skill and understand why the skill is important in connecting with people. Practicing in our small group will help students be more adept in interacting with others appropriately.
The following link is a set of social skills we practiced. You can print 2 copies and make cards to play either a "go fish"or memory matching game.
Social Skill Concept Cards
August 17, 202 has
Our group continues to practice good listening skills and develop friend files for each of the participants in the group. Demonstrating patience, kindness, and appropriate body language are all expected social skills encouraged in this group.
This week the students will begin to explore their own personal qualities and strengths. They will be challenged to think about who they perceive themselves to be, what makes them feel good or badly about themselves, what are their strengths and weaknesses, and what others might say about them. Topics and discussions are intended to increase self awareness and improve self-esteem. The students will begin to recognize how they are different from one another and accept these differences. This exploration of different traits and qualities will also lead the students to reflect on what qualities they look for in a friend. Self-awareness is important for students who want to be successful not only in social interactions but also in the academic classroom. Kids who understand their strengths and recognize their weaknesses are better able to advocate for themselves. Self-awareness and good communication ultimately builds self-confidence!
Games and activities will include sentence starters, worksheets, and cooperative play.
Please remember to be mindful if traveling out of state or exposure to large groups of people. We are carefully sanitizing between our small groups, taking temperatures, and wearing masks. The students are thrilled to be together and have these interactions. We would like to continue this model of service but need everyone's cooperation so that we all stay healthy!!!
August 24, 2020
As we move into week 4 of our social skills class, we will continue to strengthen our friend files, review expected and unexpected social behaviors, and continue to be mindful of our positive and negative qualities. This week's topic and skill to be added to our discussions and activities is Self-Control.
Everyone can be impulsive from time to time but as we mature we learn how to control our instincts, refrain from unexpected social behaviors, and be able to hold a negative thought without sharing it out loud. Self-Control requires thinking and is a skill needed to help children control their feelings and behaviors at home, in the community, at school, during social interactions and even when playing video games. Good self control skills improve children's decision making skills, reduces impulsive actions, and helps during times of frustration. For example, a child may use self-control when finding a science test to be difficult and not understanding the questions. Rather than quitting, ripping up the paper, or writing down any answer, they are able to ask for help, use a coping strategy, and attempt to think of a logical answer to the question. Another example of self-control is during social times. A new kid joins the class and is receiving much attention from peers. A child may want to ask the new kid a question but is finding it difficult given the larger circle of children engaging with the new kid. Rather than the child pushing her way through or yelling to share her question or thought, she could use self-control and wait for another more appropriate time.
As much as we like to limit screen time and video time, video games are another time when children practice self-control skills. Many games require a stop and think behavior control in order to navigate the site successfully and reach higher levels in the game. Children must learn to handle frustration and control their emotions in order to play most video games. I will be showing a short video that talks about self-control and gives specific examples. We will play a game requiring the children to demonstrate self-control in order to be successful at the tasks presented.
The following video will be shown in class.If you have questions requiring this topic, please do not hesitate to contact me.
click on the video icon
Final Summer Class
It has been a pleasure working with this group of students. In a short period of time, we have learned so much about one another! I hope each student will take the lessons and strategies they have been taught and apply them outside of the MES classroom!!
Having strong social skills takes high "Emotional Intelligence". Something that not all people have but EVERYONE can develop. Emotional Intelligence is made up of self awareness, self-regulation, social understanding, self-motivation, and empathy. During these sessions, we touched upon several of these areas and practiced the skills through games, conversations, and activities.
Enjoy this short fun video on Emotional Intelligence -
Fall classes begin on September 15th and I'm happy to see that some students will be returning! There are still a couple of spaces available so please reach out if you would like to reserve a spot. Again, groups will be kept to a minimum of 2 students but a maximum of 6. Temperatures will be taken, masks worn, hand sanitizer provided and we will continue to ask families to be mindful of travel, sickness, and refraining from attending if experiencing recent exposure to COVID.