As another school year begins, social skills remain an important focus at Sacred Heart. Our Year 2 students have been focusing on two important social skills in Term 1. The first being Active Listening, and the second being Respecting Personal Space.
Y charts were used to introduce and teach the above skills to the Year 2 students. Following class discussions about what these skills look like, sound like and feel like, the teachers recorded the students’ answers on the Y charts. These charts were then displayed and referred to as often as possible. The two Y charts developed by the Year 2 students for the above skills can be seen below:
Both teachers understand that in order for social skills to be embedded in everyday interactions, there must be multiple opportunities for the skills to be practised, reinforced and evaluated. Over the term, a number of strategies and activities have been implemented to help reinforce the focus skills. Below are some of the techniques used:
- Activities to promote active listening eg., Simon Says, News Telling and Think, Pair, Share.
- Literature to reinforce the skills eg., Personal Space Camp by Julia Cook.
- We taught students about a "personal space bubble" that exists around all people, which we must respect by keeping an arm's length distance from others.
- Role-play eg., Role-playing situations that show students following/not following the above social skills
- Circle Time - an opportunity to share and discuss thoughts, feelings and ideas about the focus social skills.
- Using naturally occurring incidents to reinforce the focus social skills.
An important part of the social skills program is to give students the opportunity to reflect on their use of social skills and for the teachers to provide feedback, both individually and as a class. In encouraging students to self-reflect on their learning, we asked them to consider questions like: How well did I use this skill? How can I improve my use of this skill in the future?
Recently we asked our students to tell us what they learnt this term, and what they would like to learn about next term in social skills. Here is what a few of the students had to say.........
"I have learnt to keep my hands to myself and my lips closed when listening. I have also learnt to keep an arm's length away from someone when talking to them. Next term I would like to learn about how to cheer people up and how to include others in games."
"I have learnt how to respect people. I also learnt about how we all have our own personal space bubble that others need to respect. I have enjoyed the the role play activities and playing Simon Says. Next term I would like to learn about using good manners and giving compliments."
"I have learnt how to be an active listener all the time. I also learnt that there is an invisible personal space bubble around us."
Social skills in Term 2 and beyond....
In the short time that the current Year 2 class have been involved in our social skills program, it has been very encouraging to see students build more positive relationships and demonstrate respect to others in and out of the classroom. We look forward to reinforcing the above skills as well as introduce new skills next term. We are confident that the students will continue to benefit from the social skills program at school and at home, as well as encourage healthy social development in future years.