5 Basic Social Skills to Work on in Your Classroom From Day 1
Building a strong foundation of social skills in young students is crucial to their development and success, both inside the classroom and in life. Social skills don’t often come naturally for students, so it’s up to you to teach them in age-appropriate and engaging ways.
Begin teaching basic social skills in your classroom on the first day of school to encourage the best social-emotional learning environment for learning success!
The 5 Basic Social Skills Students Should Know and How to Teach Them
- Following directions
- Respecting personal space
- Using good manners
Introduce these social skills on the first day of school by beginning to infuse these terms in your classroom language. The more your children are familiar with these terms, the easier it will be for them to understand and respond appropriately to your direction about these skills.
As you introduce these basic social skills to your students, you can easily expand their knowledge about them through hands-on activities and social skills stories!
Sharing fosters a positive sense of community and empathy among students. To truly understand sharing, students need to trust each other and know that their best interest is at the heart of their peers.
Encourage students to work together during playtime, collaborative projects, and group activities.
Celebrate the accomplishments of your students as they work together in pairs or groups. Highlight when you see your entire class working hard or following school rules.
In a classroom of students who share, you will also naturally experience better classroom management (yay, fewer student arguments!).
This social skills story about sharing is perfect to use to get your students to share like pros! The examples of sharing situations in this story will inspire them to share with their classmates. It’s a ready-to-use resource— perfect for a substitute teacher or reinforcing this important social skill.
Print the social skills story in full or individual child size or use it digitally. Add it to your class library so students can easily revisit it often throughout the year.
Listening is key to effective communication and understanding what’s happening and what’s expected. Use hands-on resources and helpful visuals to engage students in attentive listening and practice this skill.
Games are an easy, fun way to practice active listening skills too–especially on the first day of school! Work towards building a positive classroom community while addressing a necessary social skill.
- Simon Says
- Musical Chairs
- The Whisper Game
Use these active listening social skills activities to help students understand how to use whole-body listening.
Promote positive choices and easily facilitate conversations about the importance of giving one’s full attention in order to do their best learning.
Students need to follow directions to complete classroom routines and assignments and transition throughout the day. In order to follow directions well, students need to practice good listening skills.
Provide visuals and use clear, concise language when giving directions to your students. These additional steps will make a world of difference in your students grasping how to follow directions more effectively in your classroom.
Understanding how to and why one should follow directions is an essential social skill in school and life!
Following Directions Resource
This social skills story about cooperation helps students understand the importance of following directions and working together with their peers.
It is especially helpful for students who just “don’t want to” do what the rest of the class is doing. This book helps students understand which things at school are choices vs. non-negotiables and the importance of cooperation!
Use these FREE visual direction cards to foster your students’ independence and strengthen executive functioning skills simultaneously.
Set your students up for success to work independently and complete the tasks they are given!
Respecting Personal Space
Understanding personal boundaries is an important social skill to learn.
Encourage students to use their active listening skills to be aware when others are in need of more space. Highlight the importance of students speaking up for themselves when they feel their personal space is being invaded.
Being open in communicating one’s feelings promotes a positive social-emotional learning space for everyone.
Respecting Personal Space Resource
Students learn about respecting others’ personal space and keeping their hands to themselves with these fun social skills activities.
With this resource, you will find a mini coloring book, activity pages, informative social skills story, classroom posters, discussion pages, and more to make teaching personal space to your students a breeze!
Using Good Manners
Good manners can never be stressed enough! Teach your students to use manners in the classroom (and throughout the school!) to build a more positive classroom community.
Using manners involves being polite and creating an atmosphere where everyone feels respected. Integrate manners into daily routines in your classroom like greeting classmates each morning, using kind words, and looking at someone when they are speaking to you.
Using Good Manners Resource
This resource about good manners includes a basic social skills story, student reference cards, role-playing cards, and positive student notes.
Students learn about the following manners as they read this kid-friendly, colorful social skills story:
- Saying “please” and “thank you”
- Looking at the person who is talking
- Not interrupting others
- Not asking for rewards
- Cleaning up after yourself
- Being respectful of other’s opinions
- Using only kind words and actions
- Not bragging
By starting from day 1 this year and using made-for-you resources, visuals, and social skills stories, you CAN teach basic social skills in your classroom with confidence and ease!
Let me know if you have any questions about anything you see here. Don’t forget to pin this post to refer to it later!
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The perfect way to start meaningful habits and conversations with your students!
Thank you for being here! I love sharing ideas with other teachers! If you are looking to enhance your teaching and build a positive classroom community, you have come to the right place!