Development of a Social Skills Curriculum for Emotional Support Students in Grades 4-6 Maria Fragnito, Ed.S., NCSP, BCBA School Psychologist/Behavior Analyst
Project Description • This project initiated the development of a social skills curriculum for students in a district Emotional Support program in grades 4-6. • This was a new district program for the 2010-2011 school year with new staff.
Outcomes • The intended outcome of this project was to provide the framework for a social skills curriculum that will become an integral part of the Emotional Support program and meet students’ social, emotional, and behavioral needs, while supporting the goals of Individualized Education Plans and Positive Behavior Support Plans.
Competency Development • Elements for the social skills curriculum were established based on student needs, including emotion identification, understanding emotions, dealing with emotions, how emotions affect thinking, how thinking affects behavior, using “clear” thinking, stress relief, and using interpersonal skills. Interpersonal skills included the following: accepting “no” for an answer, accepting consequences, disagreeing appropriately, using anger control strategies, expressing empathy and understanding for others, making an apology, working together, and solving problems together. • Each week on Friday mornings, a “Social Skills Group” was held within the classroom setting. The group included an initial discussion with students about their present knowledge of a topic, a lesson related to the topic, and a follow-up activity. Follow-up activities included worksheets, short video clips, personally created games, development of class posters, and student role-plays of given situations.
Competency Development THE SUPER THINKING BOARD Steps: Look at the evidence, the truth, a clue or a fact. Ask youself, “Does this make sense?” Make a decision.
Evaluation • Students were evaluated through teacher observation of skill generalization, data collection, and progress towards Individualized Education Plan and Positive Behavior Support Plan goals. • The impact on student achievement was positive. Students improved individual social, emotional, and behavioral weaknesses in a structured and supportive environment. They also developed the ability to build friendships and to work collaboratively with one another. • The impact on my own professional growth was also positive. I was able to assess student needs, develop appropriate lessons and activities, and see progress throughout the school year. I also had the opportunity to review different resources through books and online materials to develop lessons and activities that were appropriate and functional for students in need of Emotional Support.
Expansion of Professional Learning Community • Skills taught within the group were reinforced by the classroom teachers, 1:1 aide, and classroom aide in general education classrooms, special education classrooms, and unstructured settings such as lunch and recess. Information was also shared with parents to develop consistency between the home and school settings.