Tag Archives: Social Skills

Social Skills WANTED Posters

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I got this GREAT idea from one of our 2nd grade teachers who makes these every year with her students and turns them into a cute friendship book. I made these with my 1st grade boys social skills group and they did SO well with it! They really understood the idea of a WANTED poster (looking for bad guys!) but how our WANTED posters are helping us look for a true friend! First, we drew a picture of what our true friend might look like. Their true friend could be a boy or girl of any color, shape, size, ect. Then, we talked about what qualities our true friend would have and wrote them on the bottom half of the paper. We talked about everything from loyalty to silliness to generosity! I’d definitely recommend this activity with any K-4 students – they did a wonderful job with it and had a lot of fun!

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Group Counseling Behavior Strategy

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I LOVED this idea from the Elementary School Counseling Blog to use with my 1st grade boys social skills group. I created a good cup and a bad cup. The good cup has a picture of a happy puppy on it and the sad cup has a picture of a sad puppy on it. The cups look like this…

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When students show good behavior in group (i.e. taking turns, giving each other compliments, being respectful), I put a chip inside of the good cup. When students show bad behavior in group (talking out, acting out, teasing), I put a chip inside of the bad cup. At the end of group, I dump out both cups and we count the chips together. For every good chip, we get 1 M &M. For every bad chip, we take away one of those M & Ms. So, if the group had 3 chips in the good cup and 1 chip in the bad cup, they’ll each get 2 M & Ms.

I tried this today in our first group session and it worked SO well. The boys were even telling ME when to put a chip into the good and bad cup, and were motivating each other to be good so that they could earn more M & Ms. I will definitely use this strategy for each of our 7 group sessions!

“My Ideal Friend” Puppets

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This is a GREAT activity for a friendship or social skills group that I learned about from my best friend and counseling colleague, Sally. The activity asks students to create an “Ideal Friend” puppet that represents the qualities that they look for in a friend. As the students come to understand the type of friends that they are looking for, they will realize that “in order to HAVE good friends, you need to BE a good friend” and exemplify those qualities yourself. I did this activity with six 1st grade boys, but it could be very effective with any group of elementary-aged students!

For this activity you will need:

  • Brown paper bags (lunch sacks)
  • Markers or crayons
  • White paper strips (5/student)
  • Glue sticks

First, have students brainstorm a list of qualities that they look for in a friend. Examples include someone who is funny, nice, caring, generous, thoughtful – you get the picture. As students name these qualities, create a list for them (this will help the younger ones with spelling later!) Then, ask students to choose 5 of the qualities and write them on the white strips of paper. Next, they will glue the white strips of paper onto the back of their paper bags (the side without the flap). The back of the students’ puppets should look something like this…here is Sally’s example!

Once students have glued their five qualities onto the back of their puppets, they will have the chance to draw their ideal friend! Here is Sally’s example…(what a smile, right?!)

And my example…(what long arms, right?!)

As the students are drawing their ideal friends, generate a discussion about the qualities that they look for in a friend. Tie this discussion into the idea that in order to HAVE good friends, we have to BE a good friend. Ask students how they can be better friends and what steps they can take to make good friends here at school.

This activity was fun, educational, AND gave students something tangible to take home from group – hello, positive PR for parents, teachers, and administrators! I’ll definitely use it again in the future – and hope that you will too!