Reading, writing, and arithmetic are essential subjects, but as any teacher knows, social skills play a vital role in every student’s success in and out of the classroom.
Even though your students may be distance learning at the moment, giving them opportunities to practice their social skills is important.
We asked the teachers of Mrs. D’s VIPs Facebook group what their best suggestions were for helping students develop the social skills they need. As always, they provided great tips that will help not only fellow teachers but students themselves.
Use your virtual lesson time to review social skills that can be role-played. Things like leaving a voicemail, talking to a supervisor, handling a disagreement with a friend or colleague, or ordering food over the phone can all be done on a Google Meet or any virtual/video classroom.
It gives students a chance to practice and a chance for teachers to help identify skills they excel at and where they need more practice.
2. Use Pre-Made Videos
There are a variety of topics related to social skills that can be addressed with videos found on YouTube, Nearpod, and other sites. These videos often demonstrate the skill, as well as ways in which the situation can be handled differently.
Instead of searching for “social skills” when looking for videos, focus on a specific topic that can help you narrow down your search and find the topic you are specifically looking for.
3. Get Students Talking
A social or conversational question posted to your virtual classroom is a great way to get students interacting and practicing those social skills that they cannot practice in person.
Discussions regarding “tone” and “perception” of responses can arise and give students a different perspective about online conversations.
4. Use Books
Whether it is picture books or passages from a larger text, literature is always a great way to introduce the concepts related to social skills and to begin conversations.
Focus on one skill each week and explore that through videos, texts, and dialogue. Picture books, while primarily thought to be just for younger grades, can also appeal to students in middle and high school.
5. Play Games
If you are used to using social skills games in the classroom, adapt them for online learning. Instead of rolling dice, have students pick a color or card. Think of easy ways to show the cards or board online if needed.
An overhead camera or using your phone as an additional camera might also help with showing the game. Not only will it make it easier to come up with social skills lessons, but the familiarity of the games may reassure the students as they navigate this new way of learning.
Social skills do not have to, and should not have to go to the wayside during virtual learning. By thinking outside the box and adapting current materials to work with distance learning, you can continue to provide social skills instruction with ease.
When your students are ready and able to transition back to being in the classroom, they will have all of the skills they need to succeed!
How are you practicing social skills with your students during distance learning? Share in the comments below!