Saturday, August 20, 2016

Please Welcome Cindy Basso, Guest Teacher-Author





About Cindy
   Hello! My name is Cindy and I have been teaching for over 20 years. I love teaching and have truly enjoyed teaching children with special needs. My job is so much fun and my students teach me something new each and every day. While my focus has been on children with autism, I also teach children with a wide variety of social and academic challenges. My passion is to help children experience social and academic success through explicit teaching, creative modifications, tolerance and teacher support.

The Need for Social Skills Instruction in the Classroom

   Have you noticed your students struggling more with social skills lately? It seems that many children are requiring explicit social skills instruction to be successful members of the school community, to make and maintain friends, and get along with others. Teaching strong social skills and supporting them with on going development of these skills, benefits children now and in adulthood.

   In the past, social skills instruction was focused on students with I.E.P ‘s who had a diagnosed social deficit. As a social skills teacher across six elementary schools in an urban community, I am receiving a lot of requests for help with children in the general education population as well.

Making Time for Social Skills Instruction

   Teachers have so much on their plates in today’s classrooms. The ever-increasing academic demands seem to take up every second of the school day, and then some! It may be tempting to think that social skills will develop naturally in your classroom, without direct instruction. There certainly are many social opportunities during a school day, but without direct instruction, these opportunities may not be as successful as they could be. Strategically including brief social skills instruction in between, or as a part of academic instruction, can be very useful and less time consuming that you may think. Additionally, the more successful your students are socially, the less time you will need to spend on classroom/behavior management, making more time for academic learning. It’s a win-win situation!

Which Skills to Teach?

   There are so many important social skills to choose from. Here are two that I feel are super important and that can be easily embedded into your everyday routines and academics.

Friendship Behaviors:

   Children have a lot of ideas about what friendship is, but they often do not understand the specific behaviors that can help them to make friends, as well as the specific behaviors that can make them a good friend to others. Friendships are so incredibly dynamic and can be challenging for some students to understand. A great time to teach and support strong friendship skills would be before and/or after recess. Take a moment to discuss how to be a good friend on the playground. Make a chart and brainstorm kind behaviors vs. unkind behaviors. Kids love doing this, it only takes a few minutes, and sometimes, just getting the conversation started and on children’s minds, can be very helpful as they are playing later.

For activities to explicitly teach friendship behaviors:
https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/SOCIAL-SKILLS- Friendship-Behaviors- 788957

 Problem Solving:

   Socially and academically, problem solving is incredibly important. While opportunities for engaging in problem solving come up constantly in school, many students need instruction to clearly identify helpful behaviors of problem solving vs. hurtful behaviors of problem solving. A great time to teach and support social problem solving is any time that you anticipate a challenging situation for your class or an individual in your class. Are you having a fire drill sometime this week? What should students do if they are in the bathroom during a fire drill? Do you have a field trip planned? What will you do if it rains out that day? Discussing this, making a chart, and brainstorming helpful vs. hurtful ways to handle the problem ahead of time, is a great way to teach and support effective problem solving behaviors.

For activities to explicitly teach problem solving behaviors: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/SOCIAL-

SKILLS-Problem- Solving-Behaviors- 786886
https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Kid-Codes


Warm Regards,

Cindy



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