Resources for Social Skills: Lesson Plans for Elementary Students
Social skill development is such an important key to student success in elementary school. Students who are shy or have trouble communicating appropriately with others often struggle during these critical developmental years—but incorporating lesson plans that address social situations and the skills to handle them can absolutely help.
But first, what are those skills?
Elementary social skills
Social skills at the K-6 level begin with the basics of learning how to get along in a structured setting with other children and adults outside of the child’s family. Particularly at the kindergarten and first grade levels, children may have had very little interaction with other people for extended periods of time.
Basic social skills at these ages include being polite to others, taking turns, making friends, and controlling one’s emotions—each one helps students adjust to the structure of the school environment and will become a major part of their lives.
Here are a few resources to help your students develop their social skills in ways that don’t make anyone feel socially awkward, while touching on these particular skills above.
Resources for social skills lesson plans
The following links lead to valuable resources that provide teachers and school counselors with ideas for lesson plans tied to social skills for K-6 students.
- PBIS World. PBIS World (PBIS = Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports) is the brainchild of a Michigan social worker who worked at schools in the Detroit area. On this website, you’ll find more than 200 pages of resources (and links to many more) to address more than three dozen common behavioral challenges for students, most of which are directly or indirectly related to social skills.
- Elementary School Counseling. Marissa Rex, an elementary school counselor, provides a comprehensive series of lesson plans for teaching social skills on this easy-to-navigate websites. She includes PDFs, images, and videos, and explains the significance each lesson has on teaching students social skills.
- Behavior Advisor. The “Behavior Advisor” is Dr. Tom McIntyre. Commonly known as Dr. Mac, he has served as a teacher for special needs students (behavioral and learning disabilities). On this site, Dr. Mac explains what social skills are, why they’re necessary, and how to teach them.
- ERIC: Institute of Education Sciences. This website has tons of resources for teachers. Among them is a full text PDF report written by four teacher-researchers, “Increasing Social Skills of Elementary School Students through the Use of Literature and Role-Playing.” These four teachers teamed up to address the lack of social skills observed among students in their own classes.
Whatever lesson plans you incorporate into your classroom, you’ll be doing your students a world of good. According to PBIS World’s research, a few reasons for the importance of teaching social skills to students include:
- Enables students to make friends and fit in more easily
- Facilitates improvement in daily academic and social functioning
- Improves and increases student interactions, productivity, and the ability to follow instructions and meet expectations
- Awbrey, Colleen; Longo, Amy; Lynd, Amanda; Payne, Colleen, "Increasing Social Skills of Elementary School Students through the Use of Literature and Role Playing"