Resources for Teaching Social Skills in the Classroom
Teaching social skills gives your students’ crucial skills and strategies to use throughout their life. These resources are a proactive way to promote positive relationship skills in your classroom.
SEL and Relationship Skills
Characteristics of Healthy Social Skills
SEL relationship skills involve establishing and maintaining healthy and diverse relationships. This is not a simple task, and it takes time for children to learn, develop and practice. As teachers, we need to support them navigate daily interactions positively.
The positive social skills characteristics exhibit in different ways depending on their age and experiences and include:
- Establishing and maintaining positive and diverse relationships
- Communicating with and listening attentively to others
- Recognising inappropriate social pressure and resisting getting involved in negative behaviours
- Cooperating with others in teamwork, including those who are not friends
- Negotiating and resolving conflict constructively
- Seeking and offering help when needed
- Understanding the difference between unhealthy and healthy relationships
Key Benefits of Positive Social Skills
There are many important reasons for promoting social skills in your classroom. Some key benefits include:
- Improved self-esteem and self-confidence
- Confidence to ask and offer help
- Making, keeping and dealing with friendships positively
- Increased positive interactions in the classroom and school environment
- Reduced conflicts in and out of school
- Improved interaction with adults
- Increased positive mood and behaviour
- Having strategies to deal with difficult situations
Teaching relationship skills help students who are loners, get caught up in dramas, find it difficult to ask for help, cannot to compromise, show immature behaviour, spread rumours and other socially awkward or immature behaviour.
Of the five components of the CASEL SEL model, social awareness and relationship skills are closely linked. Socially aware children recognise how their emotions and behaviour affect social interactions. They use empathy to recognise the mood and feelings of others helping them build strong, healthy relationships with people from a diversity of backgrounds. You can find more about social awareness here and here.
Resources for Social Skills Activities
In this section, you will find resources to support your students in developing healthy relationship skills. You will find a list of books with resources, short videos, online resources and reading related questions.
Social Skills Picture Books
Harmonious friendships take practice. Arguments and conflicts are common occurrences among children. This collection of books illustrates characters who share, cooperate and take on board different perspective. They offer an opportunity for discussions on how to work towards positive and healthy relationships.
You can click on the book cover for a synopsis of the book and related online resources. After the list, there is a list of reading questions to use during read-aloud sessions.
Social Skills Discussion Questions
- What characteristics did [character] have that made them a good friend?
- What characteristics was [character] looking for in a friend?
- Why was it important that [character] cooperated with [character]?
- Do you think [character] could accomplish their task by themselves?
- What was the relationship between [character] and [character]?
- How was [character] able to put aside their feelings towards [character] to work together?
- Why is it sometimes hard to cooperate??
- In what ways did [character] depend on others?
- How can positive relationships with others help us overcome difficult situations?
- What characteristics make up a good/healthy/positive relationship?
- What are the benefits of a good/healthy/positive relationship?
- How can your actions affect a relationship with others?
- How does (honesty, communication, empathy, etc) affect relationships with others?
Relationship Skills Online Resources
- Act for Youth: Relationship Skills
- Child Mind Institute: Friends and Socializing
- Childline: Friends
- Harmony Early Learning Journey: 6 Ways to Encourage Long-lasting Friendships in Childhood
- Healthy Families Beyond Blue: Developing Social Skills
- Kids Help Line: Cultural differences and conflict
- PBS Parents: How to Help Your Five-Year-Old Build Healthy Relationships
- British Council: Family and Friends Lesson Plans
- Council for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment: Family, Bullying, Friendship, Difference and Diversity
- Edutopia: Common Ground- Teaching Kids the Benefits Of Working Together
- Kids Health: Getting Along Teacher’s Guide
- Kids Health: Conflict Resolution Teacher’s Guide
- Landmark Outreach: Social-Emotional Learning: Developing Relationship Skills
- Learning to Give: Smiles Change the World Lesson Plans
- Northern Ireland Curriculum: Getting Along with Others
- Scholastic: Group Time: Building Language Through Conflict Resolution
- Scholastic: Ages & Stages: Learning to Resolve Conflicts
- Scholastic: When Friendship Hurts
- Scholastic: Building Bridges of Friendship: Classroom Community Activities
- Teaching Tolerance: New Friends Learning Plan
Social Skills Videos
These short videos can be used as discussion starters for talking about relationship skills. Watch the videos before playing them to your students. Some of them are simple while others are more complex or abstract.
Teaching relationship skills take time, but it is worth it. These social skills activities and resources will help you promote positive relationships in your classroom and beyond. Let me know how you support your student’s relationship skills in the comments below.
You can find a round-up of relationship skills picture books in the post 30 Books about Cooperation and Relationship Skills.
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