How do we help students develop social skills for success in school and beyond? There isn’t enough time in the school day to teach all the important social skills as a separate curriculum. One solution is to embed social skills in how we teach math, reading, science, and social studies. Second graders are polishing their social skills throughout the school day when working cooperatively with their teammates.
Using Jot Thoughts, a Kagan Cooperative learning structure, students brainstormed a list of expressions to Greet, Praise, and say Good-Bye to one another. The expressions were collected and students voted on their top choices. We recorded the votes using tally marks which gave us a chance to review counting by 5’s and 1’s. To recognize the various cultures in our classroom, students decided to include other languages in their list of positive affirmations.
In math students greet and praise their partners when practicing math facts using Quiz, Quiz, Trade. Reading partners have been using Timed Pair Share to retell their favorite parts starting first by greeting their partner and closing with a good-bye.
Ultimately the goal for using these positive phrases (gambits) is to foster a more caring, helpful, and understanding classroom environment that will carry students through second grade and beyond.