Supporting Social Skills

Distanced learning during the pandemic created gaps in student social skills. How can we support students as they rebuild and renew social skills in the new normal?

These strategies can help!

  1. Practice good manners. After living and working in our homes for over a year, many people have forgotten good manners. Setting norms for good manners will help students to succeed socially in the classroom and in life!
    Good manners norms to review and practice include:
    • Look people in the eye when they are speaking
    • Say please and thank you
    • Be responsible and pick up your things
    • Offer to help clean up
    • Take turns when you are talking with others
    • Share
  2. Read books about social skills. A great list for elementary students includes:
    Stick and Stone by Beth Ferry
    My Mouth is a Volcano by Julia Cook
    Because Amelia Smiled by David Ezra Stein
    How do I stand in your shoes by Susan DeBell
    Stand Tall Molly Lou Melon by Patty Lovell
    How Full is Your Bucket? For Kids by Tom Rather and Maurie Manning
    The Berenstain Bears Show Some Respect by Mike and Jan Bernstain
  3. Teach students to be aware of their body language! Non-verbal communication can be as important as the words that you say. Practice open and relaxed posture, smiling with your eyes, turning your body toward the person speaking, and nodding to show that you are listening. Empowering students with positive body language will last throughout their lives!
  4. Practice positive teamwork using Mind Missions! In Mind Missions lessons students:
    • Learn norms for positive teamwork – Mind Missions curriculum includes direct instruction in effective team skills for success. Using these tools, classes discuss and establish appropriate norms for collaborative work.
    • Seek multiple perspectives with team brainstorming – Each Mind Missions lesson includes a brainstorming task to encourage a variety of answers from team members. In the process, students learn to value a variety of inputs and understand the value of multiple perspectives in developing team solutions.
    • Practice respectful disagreement and compromise – People are going to disagree sometimes, so learning how to disagree respectfully is a critical skill (especially in our digital world). Mind Missions challenges students to actively listen to each team member and respect that opinion even when they don’t agree.
    • Reflect on effective collaborative efforts in each lesson – After each Mind Missions lesson, students complete reflection writing about the content and collaborative work during the lesson. Using reflective exercises, students develop a strong understanding of steps for personal teamwork success.
    Try a Mind Missions Lesson and build social skills for student success!

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