101 Ways to Teach Children Social Skills by Lawrence Shapiro, Ph.D.
Part 1: Communication
“Some children seem to be socially adept from birth, while others struggle with various challenges of social acceptance. Some children make friends easily; others are loners. Some children have self-control, and others have quick tempers. Some are natural leaders, while others are withdrawn.
Many aspects of social development seem to be an innate part of a child’s temperament, but we also know that the environment can play an important part in shaping a child’s social development. In the last ten years, psychologists have become increasingly aware that social skills can, and should, be taught. Many studies have shown that shy children can become more outgoing, aggressive children can learn self-control, and children who tend to be social isolates can be taught how to make friends.
There is no question that children with better social skills have a significant advantage in life. They not only experience the rewards of positive relationships, but they do better in school, have a better self-image, and in general, are much more resilient as they face life’s inevitable challenges.
Effective communication, the foundation of social success, consists of many distinct skills. Social communication is a “language” and children are born with differences in their ability to learn this language, just as they have other learning differences. But there is no question that, with practice and encouragement, effective communication can be taught. Children need to know how to introduce themselves, how to develop a personal dialog with one child, and then how to maintain a conversation in a group. Many children who have problems in social skills choose the wrong tactics for interacting with other children. They may brag and try to get the attention of others, an approach that can often lead to group rejection. Other children may hang back, just observing the group, which may result in them being ignored.”
Next Week: Nonverbal Communication
Keeping the Home Language Alive
Did you know that approximately 1/3 of the students at Captain John Palliser school are English Language Learners? Each of these students are at a different place in their journey to becoming proficient with the English language. Did you know that continuing to speak in their first language(s) is an important part of effectively learning English?
Here is why:
1. Your child will develop stronger English skills if you continue to use and develop your home language.
2. Your home language will help your child to learn. When a child knows about things in the home language, he or she will learn about things in the second language more easily.
3. Your home language supports your child’s sense of identity.
4. Knowing the home language helps children to communicate easily within the family and the community.
(adapted from Coelho, E. Adding English 2004 Pippin Publishing)
Phonemic awareness is the awareness of sounds in spoken words and the ability to focus on and manipulate sounds. This means, students can assemble sounds to make words and break words down to make sounds. Phonemic awareness is needed before you can decode words in print and develop phonics skills.
Some of the skills for phonemic awareness that teachers look for include:
· Is the student able to rhyme words?
· Identify the first sound of a word?
· Segment a word into its component sounds?
· Blend component sounds into a word?
· Manipulate sounds within a word?
· Identifying sounds
· tongue twisters - consonant can be the same in many different words
· guess what’s in the bag - say a word syllable-by-syllable
· I say it slowly, you say it fast
· Manipulating sounds
· make riddles - what rhymes with pig and starts with /d/
· Sound Take-Away - What is a smile without the /s/
Playing “I-Spy” using the first sound of a word as the clue and the child then has to find something in the room/car that begins with the given sound (not letter). This game could also be played using rhyming words (e.g., “I spy with my little eye, something that rhymes with ____”).
Alliteration game: Have your child make up alliterative phrases (a string of words that begin with the same sound – e.g. “Peter piper picked a peck of pickled peppers”). These phrases can start off small. State the sound that the phrase should begin with and have your child see how long a phrase they can come up with.
Counting Sounds: Have your child count out the sounds in a word. Use a card with segmented boxes and have the student place counters in each box to represent each individual sound.
Sound Manipulation: Take away or swap sounds in words and child tells what is left. For example, ‘farm’ without /f/ is ‘arm’; ‘clap’ without /l/ is ‘cap’; swapping the /b/ in ‘beef’ to /r/ makes ‘reef’.
Literacy and Clinical Skills (2019). Phonemic Awareness. Retrieved from URL Information-Sheet-3-Developing-Phonological-Awareness-Skills.pdf
When reading aloud, fluent readers read in phrases and add intonation appropriately. Their reading is smooth.
Children can read fast, skip words or pause when applying strategies to words they do not know.
You child may require support with fluency if:
He or she...
- loses place when reading aloud
- reads aloud very slowly
- moves mouth when reading silently
- pauses when punctuation breaks are not indicated
- points to words as they read (after grade 2)
- reads. each. word. just. like. this. (“robot reading”)
Ways to support you child improve reading fluency
- model fluent reading
- echo reading (parent reads then child reads)
- highlight punctuation to remind child to pause
- perform a play or reader’s theater
- sight word games
- listen to audio recordings
- select books with dialogue
- songs and poetry are often very fluent – sing songs together!
- remind your child to let their eyes do the work instead of pointing to words with a finger
Zones of Regulation
Stress, Stressed Out, Stressors
We know when our kids are stressed, they are not ready to learn! We’ve all been there, STRESSED to the MAX!! What stresses do you bring to the job? Life?
Explicitly teaching students appropriate coping and regulation strategies will help them to apply strategies for the moments when they become stressed, anxious, or sad. We know that when kids can learn to self-regulate at a young age, they will turn into teens who can self-regulate. Self- regulation skills are essential for the success and happiness of our children.