We All Need To Be Getting Along!

Getting Along - Social Skills Activities for Middle and High School Students
Grades 5-9

What does it take for people to get along?  What is required for individuals and groups from diverse backgrounds to willingly seek common ground while respecting and proudly maintaining the sundry paths that brought them to the places they share? 

The Reality

Our multicultural society is made up almost exclusively of immigrants and the descendents of immigrants, many of whom arrived on these shores seeking religious tolerance and freedom from oppression.  What ethics must we nourish in our children, what skills do our youth need to learn in order to appreciate the brilliant kaleidoscope of colors and cultures they have inherited?  How can we get them to honor, enjoy, and protect what increasing numbers would shatter and separate into little piles of hues and textures with jagged, hostile edges?  

A Place to Begin

We can start by recognizing that a school is a community and the classroom a smaller community, and that whatever happens here not only goes home, but to the theater, the mall, the library, the park, the athletic event, and the religious service.  Children must grasp that in order for any of us to truly enjoy and benefit from the amenities and opportunities that are available in the community, in order for any of us to feel entirely safe and secure, in order for any of us to expect optimal conditions for learning and growth, we must ensure that those same benefits, securities, and conditions are available to all of us.  In short, we must learn to get along.  We don’t always have to agree.  We can expect to have different ideas, different values, and different goals, but we must learn to respect one another’s rights, to work and play cooperatively, to resolve conflicts, and to take responsibility for our own behaviors and the effects those have on others and on the community as a whole.

What It Really Takes

Merely admonishing students to be “good citizens” is not enough.  Most are very familiar with the label and can readily parrot all the implied expectations.  For students to get along in the deeper sense characterized by true interdependence, they have to develop self-awareness; undertake responsibility for their actions; accept and appreciate differences in others; listen with empathy and understanding; communicate their thoughts and feelings accurately and assertively; include others in their activities; be open to divergent styles and points of view; work together to solve problems and complete projects; and peacefully resolve any conflicts they experience along the way.  What’s more, they have to be conscious that they are doing these things, and be able to verbalize the reasons and benefits.  To develop competency in these areas involves the acquisition of specific skills, along with growing awareness and open discussion concerning the process.  This in turn requires not just explanation, but modeling, plenty of practice or behavioral rehearsal, and ongoing dialogue.  

A Complimentary Activity

The activities in GETTING ALONG – Social Skills Activities for Middle and High School Students are designed to introduce students to these skills in a deliberate, enjoyable fashion and, in the process, elevate their awareness of the responsibility that each has to make the classroom and/or school a cooperative environment where everyone is included, where people experience true interdependence, and where dissent and conflict are never fearsome or ugly but, rather, natural and productive. 

Today’s selected activity, Promoting Inclusion, comes from the unit “INCLUDING OTHERS”.

Use this activity now, and purchase the book to have a whole library of instantly usable social skills skills activities with which to engage your students.

You can check the book out HERE, and you can open a reproducible PDF of your student activity HERE.

If you like our blog resources and would like to receive them regularly, please subscribe here or on our website at www.InnerchoicePublishing.com

Thanks so much for reading!

Dianne Schilling (Author)

How Our Actions Can Affect Others

Grades 3-6

This Sharing Circle topic comes from the grades 3-6  resource book, Hearts and MindsYour students will explore the impact of the things they do that make others feel good. The topic helps your students see the kinds of words and actions that create good feelings in others. They will also discover how to take credit for kind deeds and become aware of the benefits that acts of kindness produce.  The topic for this Sharing Circle is, Something I Did to Make Someone Feel Good

  Here’s Your Monday Morning Sharing Circle.
Enjoy!

 

Something I Did to Make Someone Feel Good

Objectives:

The children will:

— identify specific words and actions that create good feelings in others.
— accept credit for good and kind deeds.
— explain how acts of kindness benefit themselves and others.

Introduce the Topic:

Today’s topic is a very broad one that can be discussed in many ways. It is, “Something I Did to Make Someone Feel Good.” You see what I mean? You have probably done hundreds of things to make other people feel good. Just tell us about one.

Maybe you gave someone a flower, a present, or a compliment. Perhaps you hugged a friend who was feeling bad, or offered to relieve a parent of a chore or errand. Telling a joke can make someone feel good. So can telling a person what a good job he or she did, or saying, “I like you” or “I love you.” Describe what you said or did and how you felt inside. The topic is, “Something I Did to Make Someone Feel Good.”

Discussion Questions:

1. How do you feel when you know you’ve made someone feel good?
2. Usually, when a person feels good, everyone who comes in contact with that person benefits. Can you explain how that happens?
3. If everyone in our group tried to make one extra person feel good each day, how would our group benefit?

Do you want more information?
• Leading a Sharing Circle • Sharing Circle Rules
• Books and Resources   • Free Activities   • Subscribe

www.InnerchoicePublishing.com

Here’s How It’s Done

Gather everyone into a circle.

Explain the rules for sharing, and get agreement from everyone that they will follow the rules.

Sharing Circle Rules:

•  Everyone gets a turn to share, including the leader.
•  You can skip your turn if you wish.
•  Listen to the person who is sharing.
•  There are no interruptions, probing, put-downs, or gossip.
•  Share the time equally.

After everyone has shared, who wants to share, ask the discussion questions.

Get more in-depth information here.

Just click HERE to open a fully reproducible PDF of this Sharing Circle activity…

If you like our blog resources and would like to receive them regularly, please subscribe here or on our website at www.InnerchoicePublishing.com

Thanks so much for reading!

Susanna

PS: If a friend forwarded this to you, you can just sign up to get your own weekly Innerchoice Counselor Activity Blog.

Games Children Should Play

What’s Happening:

All Ages

Scientific research into learning and the human brain is currently exploding with discoveries about how humans learn best. It’s now widely recognized that neuroplasticity (the ability of the human brain to grow, learn, and change throughout life) can, and should be, positively enhanced by schooling. Compelling evidence suggests that if educators understand how the brain learns and implement the correct skill-building educational experiences, all students can experience success.

Movement and Stress:

This current research explosion has made it apparent that physical movement is critical to learning. Voluntary large motor activities such as games, team sports, dance, and running raise the good brain chemicals needed for learning, focus, thinking and memory access, and also help to reduce stress. Since chronic, acute stress negatively impacts learning and behavior, providing regular physical activity becomes a natural de-stressor and an important part of any school day. Research suggests that students benefit from 30 to 60 minutes per day of movement and organized physical activity.

Games and Learning:

Pro-social games of all kinds offer additional important ways to purposefully promote social and emotional learning. The natural desire of children to play together and have fun makes games an ideal delivery system for teaching important life skills. Through the structure, rules, and social interaction of games, children learn to share and take turns. They practice self-control and the effective management of negative emotions. They learn that motivation and persistence pay off. Games teach children the benefits of interacting with others in fair, just, and respectful ways, and help develop the critical life skills of collaboration and teamwork.

These important social and emotional skills are not innate talents, but learned abilities. The acquisition of social-emotional skills is facilitated by the structure and rules of games, by peer interaction, and also by adults modeling these behaviors and helping students to make appropriate learning connections. 

A Complimentary Activity

Today’s selected activity comes from the unit “GET-ACQUAINTED GAMES” in our book, EVERYBODY WINS! – 100 Social-Emotional Games That Children Should Play.

The games in this section were selected because they encourage self-disclosure and sharing in the non-threatening context of play.  They can be used to help students become better acquainted, to promote inclusion, to build team cohesiveness, or as preludes to more challenging tasks.  Players introduce themselves to one or more persons, focusing on the value of each individual and acknowledging similarities and differences.

Use this activity now, and purchase the book to have a whole library of instantly usable games to engage your students.

You can check the book out HERE, and you can open a reproducible PDF of your student activity HERE.

If you like our blog resources and would like to receive them regularly, please subscribe here or on our website at www.InnerchoicePublishing.com

Thanks so much for reading!

Susanna

A Sharing Circle About DEALING WITH DIFFERENCES

Grades 2-12

This Sharing Circle topic comes from the grades 2-12  resource book, Lessons in Tolerance and DiversityIt  lets your students explore the differences between themselves and their friends. The topic helps your students understand that we all differ from one another and that these differences are what really are at the root of all our relationships but, importantly, from the foundations for our friendships. The topic for this Sharing Circle is, Lessons in Tolerance and Diversity

  Here’s Your Monday Morning Sharing Circle.
Enjoy!

 

I Have a Friend Who Is Different From Me

Purpose:

This circle asks students to identify specific differences between themselves and their friends, and fosters respect for differences in race, culture, lifestyle and ability.

Introduce the Topic:

Today we are going to talk about friends who are different from us and what we like about them. The topic for this session is, “I Have a Friend Who Is Different From Me.”

We are all alike in many ways, but we are also different. Today, I want you to think about a friend who is different from you in at least one major way, and tell us why you like this person so much. Perhaps your friend is of a different race, or has a much larger family, or is many years older than you. Does your friend speak a different language or eats a different way than you do? Does your friend have a disability that causes his or her lifestyle to be different from yours? Maybe your friend celebrates birthdays differently than you do, or has different holidays. Tell us what you enjoy about this person. Does your friend listen to you and share things with you? Does he or she invite you to go places? Do you have something in common like a love of sports, music, or computers? Think about it for a few minutes. The topic is, “I Have a Friend Who Is Different From Me.”

Discussion Questions:

1. What are some of the ways we differ from our friends?
2. How are you enriched by the differences between you and your friend?
3. What causes people to dislike other people because of things like race or religion?
4. What would our lives be like if we could only make friends with people who are just like we are?

Do you want more information?
• Leading a Sharing Circle • Sharing Circle Rules
• Books and Resources   • Free Activities   • Subscribe

www.InnerchoicePublishing.com

Here’s How It’s Done

Gather everyone into a circle.

Explain the rules for sharing, and get agreement from everyone that they will follow the rules.

Sharing Circle Rules:

•  Everyone gets a turn to share, including the leader.
•  You can skip your turn if you wish.
•  Listen to the person who is sharing.
•  There are no interruptions, probing, put-downs, or gossip.
•  Share the time equally.

After everyone has shared, who wants to share, ask the discussion questions.

Get more in-depth information here.

Just click HERE to open a fully reproducible PDF of this Sharing Circle activity…

If you like our blog resources and would like to receive them regularly, please subscribe here or on our website at www.InnerchoicePublishing.com

Thanks so much for reading!

Susanna

PS: If a friend forwarded this to you, you can just sign up to get your own weekly Innerchoice Counselor Activity Blog.

Preparing Your Students to Be College and Career Ready

Grades 6-12

What it Takes

What does it take for young people to be college and career ready? Today’s students will need to succeed and lead in a highly competitive global economy, a knowledge-based society and a hyper-connected digital age. It’s no longer enough to just be trained in technical skills. Today’s workers need interpersonal and relationship skills. They need to know how to communicate and collaborate. In short they must develop a full spectrum of life skills which provides the foundation for success in college, career, at home and in the community.

Here’s the Resource

Preparing Students For Success and Leadership in College and Careers provides a comprehensive collection of over 140 effective activities for you to engage your students in the development of the skills employers are looking for and is required for success in college. With this curriculum guide you’ll have at your finger tips meaningful activities that help your students to make effective decisions, solve problems, act responsibly, set goals, learn to work as part of a team, and develop effective communication and conversational abilities.   LEARN MORE HERE

By developing these skills in your students now you’ll be promoting their college and career success.

A Complimentary Activity

Here is a goal setting activity and reproducible student activity sheet from Preparing Students for Success and Leadership in College and Careers. Use this activity now, and purchase the book to have a whole library of instantly usable activities to engage your students in preparing for their lifetime of success.

You can check the book out HERE, and you can open a reproducible PDF of your student experience sheet HERE.

If you like our blog resources and would like to receive them regularly, please subscribe here or on our website at www.InnerchoicePublishing.com

Thanks so much for reading!

Susanna

PS: If a friend forwarded this to you, you can just sign up to get your own weekly Innerchoice Counselor Activity Blog.

 

Helping Your Students Take Initiative and Accept Responsibility

Elementary

This Sharing Circle topic comes from the elementary resource book, Caring and Capable KidsIt  lets your students explore the differences between being asked or told to do something and choosing to do it just because it needs to be done. The topic also helps your students see the importance of taking personal responsibility for getting things done. Finally, students get to actually experience the positive feelings and other rewards for both taking initiative and accepting responsibility. The topic for this Sharing Circle is, A Time I Helped Without Being Asked…

  Here’s Your Monday Morning Sharing Circle.
Enjoy!

 

A Time I Helped Without
Being Asked

Objectives:

The students will:
— describe the difference between choosing to do something and being told to do it.
— state the importance of assuming responsibility for things that need to be done.

Introduce the Topic:

Today we’re going to talk about taking the initiative — about accepting responsibility without being told to by an adult.  Our topic is, “A Time I Helped Without Being Asked.”

Think of a time when you saw something that needed to be done and took it upon yourself to do it.  No one had to tell you or ask you or even hint to you that it needed doing.  Maybe you walked into the kitchen one evening and saw a sink full of dirty dishes and, instead of just ignoring the mess, you cleaned it up.  Or maybe you saw someone drop and spill or break something and you got down and helped pick up the pieces.  Perhaps a neighbor was searching up and down the street for a missing pet and you joined in.  Or you might have stayed to help a teacher straighten up a classroom after school.  You can probably think of lots of times when you decided on your own to take responsibility.  Tell us about one of those times.  The topic is, “A Time I Helped Without Being Asked.” 

Discussion Questions:

1.  How did you feel when you helped without being asked?
2.  How would your feelings have been different if you had been asked, or even ordered, to do the same thing?
3.  What does it mean to be a responsible person?
4.  Why is it important for each of us to take responsibility for things that need to be done?

Do you want more information?
• Leading a Sharing Circle • Sharing Circle Rules
• Books and Resources   • Free Activities   • Subscribe

www.InnerchoicePublishing.com

Here’s How It’s Done

Gather everyone into a circle.

Explain the rules for sharing, and get agreement from everyone that they will follow the rules.

Sharing Circle Rules:

•  Everyone gets a turn to share, including the leader.
•  You can skip your turn if you wish.
•  Listen to the person who is sharing.
•  There are no interruptions, probing, put-downs, or gossip.
•  Share the time equally.

After everyone has shared, who wants to share, ask the discussion questions.

Get more in-depth information here.

Just click HERE to open a fully reproducible PDF of this Sharing Circle activity…

If you like our blog resources and would like to receive them regularly, please subscribe here or on our website at www.InnerchoicePublishing.com

Thanks so much for reading!

Susanna

PS: If a friend forwarded this to you, you can just sign up to get your own weekly Innerchoice Counselor Activity Blog.

CATEGORIES

Counselor in the Classroom

Having Impact!

Effective counseling can have a powerful impact on the ability of all students to learn, and to manage themselves in the classroom, the school, and all other areas of their lives. As counselors, we hold the keys to some of the most vital, sought-after, life-skills that people of any age can develop. In a lifetime, many individuals never acquire these skills, yet we have the power to teach them to children! Not just the children who are referred to us, but all children.

Shaping the Culture

Counselors can help students feel comfortable in the school environment, develop positive self-concepts, and rediscover the motivation to learn. We have the ability to enhance open communication and promote cooperative work skills. We can create a renaissance in interpersonal relations by developing listening, speaking, and observation skills, and promoting tolerance and the ability of young people to get along well with others.

Making It Real

In addition to training in life-skills, counselors can help students make continuous links between classroom learning and the career futures that await them, and prepare students to deal with change. We can show students the path of responsibility, teaching them to be safe, to resist substance abuse, and to shun violence and bullying. Through our efforts students can develop an entire repertoire of skills associated with problem-solving, decision-making, assertiveness, and conflict resolution.

How It’s Done…

Written especially for counselors, Counselor in the Classroom, offers a collection of learning activities designed to optimally utilize the skills of Counselors and bring those skills into the classroom by integrating counseling and guidance with classroom instruction.

Something for You

In this week’s blog we’ve chosen a Counselor-led activity from Counselor in the Classroom dealing with friendship.

You can check the book out HERE, and you can download the activity and student experience sheet HERE.

If you like our blog resources and would like to receive them regularly, please subscribe right here or on our website at www.InnerchoicePublishing.com

Thanks so much for reading!

Susanna

PS: If a friend forwarded this to you, you can just sign up to get your own weekly Innerchoice Publishing Activity Blog.

Letting Your Students Explore Their Accomplishments

Taken from the book, 101 Life-Skills Discussion Topics, this Sharing Circle Topic lets your students connect with things they’ve already accomplished in life and to explore the feelings associated with these accomplishments. It also fuels creativity as students see how their accomplishments unfolded. The topic for this Sharing Circle is, Something I Did (or Made) That I’m Proud Of…

  Here’s Your Monday Morning Sharing Circle.
Enjoy!

Something I Did (or Made) That I’m Proud Of

Objectives:

The students will:
— identify personal accomplishments.
— describe the feelings generated by accomplishments.

Introduce the Topic:

Say to the students:  Our topic for today is, “Something I Did (or Made) That I’m Proud Of.”  We’ve all done something, or made something, of which we’ve been proud.  Think of an example in your life, and tell us about it.  Maybe the thing that comes to mind makes you proud because other people thought well of you for achieving it.  Or perhaps your accomplishment is something no one knows about except you.  Perhaps you helped someone who really needed and wanted help, and giving that help made you feel proud of yourself.  Or maybe you made something like a perfect fried egg, or fixed something, like a machine, and doing that made you feel proud of yourself.  Think for a minute and see if you can come up with something.  It can be an accomplishment from your childhood or something you’ve done recently.  The topic is, “Something I Did (or Made) That I’m Proud Of.”

Discussion Questions:

1.  Who besides yourself was proud of you?  How did he or she show it?
2.  How important is it for people to feel proud of themselves?
3.  Have you ever felt it wasn’t good to feel proud of yourself?  If so,what       caused you to feel that way?
4.  How does pride in ourselves help us continue to accomplish things?

Do you want more information?
• Leading a Sharing Circle • Sharing Circle Rules
• Books and Resources   • Free Activities   • Subscribe

www.InnerchoicePublishing.com

Here’s How It’s Done

Gather everyone into a circle.

Explain the rules for sharing, and get agreement from everyone that they will follow the rules.

Sharing Circle Rules:

•  Everyone gets a turn to share, including the leader.
•  You can skip your turn if you wish.
•  Listen to the person who is sharing.
•  There are no interruptions, probing, put-downs, or gossip.
•  Share the time equally.

After everyone has shared, who wants to share, ask the discussion questions.

Get more in-depth information here.

Just click HERE to open a fully reproducible PDF of this Sharing Circle activity…

If you like our blog resources and would like to receive them regularly, please subscribe here or on our website at www.InnerchoicePublishing.com

Thanks so much for reading!

Susanna

PS: If a friend forwarded this to you, you can just sign up to get your own weekly Innerchoice Counselor Activity Blog.

Counselors! Here’s a Social Skills Activity for Your Kids

Relating effectively to others is a challenge we all face.  People who are effective in their social interactions have the ability to understand others.  They know how to interact flexibly, skillfully, and responsibly.  At the same time, they recognize their own needs and maintain their own integrity. Socially effective people can process the nonverbal as well as verbal messages of others.  They possess the very important awareness that all people have the power to affect one another.  They are aware of not only how others affect them, but the effects their behaviors have on others.

In order to build healthy relationships, children need to have positive interpersonal experiences and to gain information concerning the social realm of life.  As a rule, we do not systematically teach children how to understand and get along with other people.  However, since social skills are fundamental to success in life, and are learned behaviors, children should be consistently and developmentally taught these important skills.

It is important to recognize that people who enjoy effective social relationships are exhibiting not just one ability, but many different skills, each at a different level of development with different nuances of understanding.

The activities in Social Skills Activities for the Elementary Grades are designed to help children become aware of the importance of effectively relating to others, and to teach them social interaction skills in a deliberate and enjoyable fashion.

Learn more about the book here 

For your FREE activity and reproducible student Experience Sheet from the Communicating Effectively unit in Social Skills Activities for the Elementary Grades just check out the link below.

Just click HERE to open a fully reproducible PDF of this  activity…

If you like our blog resources and would like to receive them regularly, please subscribe right here or on our website at www.InnerchoicePublishing.com

Thanks so much for reading!

Susanna

PS: If a friend forwarded this to you, you can just sign up to get your own weekly Innerchoice Publishing Activity Blog.

Helping Students Identify the Qualities of a Safe and Accepting Relationship.

Here’s a Sharing Circle Topic and activity you can use with your students to build an element of awareness that is getting a lot of attention these days. What does it take to understand the things that contribute to a relationship that is healthy and works for everyone involved. The topic for this Sharing Circle is, A PERSON I FEEL SAFE WITH…

  Here’s Your Monday Morning Sharing Circle.
Enjoy!

A Person I Feel Safe With

Objectives:

The students will:

— identify safe and accepting relationships.
— describe specific behaviors that contribute to secure relationships.

Introduce the Topic:

In your own words say, Today our topic is, “A Person I Feel Safe With.”  The world can seem like a pretty hostile place at times, with crowding, crime, and conflict between people and groups.  Even in our daily lives, we experience the stress of competition and the press of time as we try to juggle our relationships and responsibilities.  All of this makes it especially important that we have people in our lives with whom we can relax, knowing that we are safe and secure—not just physically, but emotionally.  Who is such a person in your life?  Tell us about someone who gives you a good feeling, who accepts and supports you, and always causes you to feel safe.  This person could be an adult, child, parent, relative, or friend.  Tell us specifically what the person does to cause you to feel secure in his or her presence.  The topic is, “A Person I Feel Safe With.”

After everyone who wants to has shared, ask the following questions.

Discussion Questions:

1.  What were the main reasons we gave for feeling safe with the people    we described?
2. How do you know when someone accepts you just the way you are?
3. How can we become people with whom others feel safe?
4. Does feeling safe with a person mean that you and that person never disagree or experience conflicts?  Explain.

Do you want more information?
• Leading a Sharing Circle • Sharing Circle Rules
• Books and Resources   • Free Activities   • Subscribe

www.InnerchoicePublishing.com

Here’s How It’s Done

Gather everyone into a circle.

Explain the rules for sharing, and get agreement from everyone that they will follow the rules.

Sharing Circle Rules:

•  Everyone gets a turn to share, including the leader.
•  You can skip your turn if you wish.
•  Listen to the person who is sharing.
•  There are no interruptions, probing, put-downs, or gossip.
•  Share the time equally.

After everyone has shared, who wants to share, ask the discussion questions.

Get more in-depth information here.

Just click HERE to open a fully reproducible PDF of this Sharing Circle activity…

If you like our blog resources and would like to receive them regularly, please subscribe here or on our website at www.InnerchoicePublishing.com

Thanks so much for reading!

Susanna

PS: If a friend forwarded this to you, you can just sign up to get your own weekly Innerchoice Blog.