Before second semester began, Amanda submitted a question to our trainers about integrating some of her social skill plans into her academic lessons. Check out their conversation…
Amanda: I am laying out my lesson plans for the upcoming semester, and I am trying to delve into the various social skills. Is there a suggested format for introducing each new skill? How long should I spend on each skill?
Lynnette, National Training Consultant: Now that you’ve had a semester with your students, you should have a solid idea of the skills they are using well, and those they are struggling with. Typically, we recommend starting with the skills that they are weaker in.
We suggest a “Skill of the Week” format, based on your students needs. Meaning, a skill might take just a week or more than a week. If you start with a weeklong plan, that should give you an idea of where to go as the semester progresses. If you have the flexibility in your daily schedule, you can intentionally plan a consistent time for skill work.
We’ve seen several schools that have their teachers incorporate skill time in their morning meetings, for example. When we commit to a set time for skill work, it sends a message that this is important.
If you can carve out consistent time each day, you can then implement a consistent schedule and simply change the skill as your students master them.
Here’s an example:
Monday – Introduce the skill (Planned Teaching).
Tuesday – Review and role play how the skill can be used in the classroom.
Wednesday - Review and role play how the skill can be used school-wide.
Thursday – Review and role play how the skill can be used in the community or at home and encourage students to use the skill at home as homework to talk about during Friday’s skill time.
Friday – Review and discuss opportunities students had to use the skill over the past week and evaluate how it went.
Our job as educators is to meet students where they are. If you find that your class has a hard time asking for help or listening, start there. Be patient, students learn at different paces. Praise each student throughout the week as you find them displaying the skill correctly. Social skill lessons aren’t meant to interrupt our academics, they’re meant to make academic lessons easier. When students are prepared, focused, and informed about rules and procedures, they’re more likely to succeed in their academics.
If you have questions about integrating SEL into your academic plans, reach out to our trainers.