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Twenty-First Century Social Skills Instruction

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Keywords: Social Skills
Subject(s): Video, Social Skills, Technology, Autism, Special Needs
Grades 2 through 5
School: Flynn Elem School, Westminster, CO
Planned By: Alicia Franks
Original Author: Alicia Franks, Westminster
The goals of this project are:
1.) Increase studentsí awareness of their own social and interpersonal strengths and needs in relation to peers, including increased awareness of social cues and feedback being given to them by peers.
2.) Increase studentsí ability to demonstrate effective social and interpersonal skills in the school environment.

Phase 1: Needs Assessment and student self-awareness assessment.
Students will be identified for participation in the project according to staff referrals as well as IEP goals and needs in the social/interpersonal skills area. Students will complete a checklist which will assess how they perceive their own social/interpersonal skills in various areas. Each student will have a Teacher complete a checklist to measure how he/she perceives the studentís abilities in relation to social/interpersonal skills. Results from the self-assessment and the Teacher assessment will be used to identify skills areas in which the student is lacking. Results from the teacher assessment, student self-assessment and informal observations by the project director/school psychologist will be utilized to assess the studentís degree of self-awareness as compared to how others view the studentís skills.

Phase 2: Document baseline skills through video clips of the student interacting in the school environment with peers and staff.
Each student will view their own video clips either one-on-one with the school psychologist (if desired) or in a small group setting. The student will receive feedback from peers in the group and the school psychologist.

Phase 3: Goal Setting.
Each student will create a personal social skills goal statement for the project with the help of the school psychologist. Each student will post their goal through a video clip statement which will be saved to their video portfolio.

Phase 4: Group work on identified target skills.
Students will meet every two weeks in a small group setting to receive social skills instruction through video-taped self modeling (VSM). VSM is an intervention where individuals learn skills by observing themselves performing the targeted skill. A strength of VSM is that is allows the individual to learn, both through observation and through personal experience. The use of VSM has been shown to be effective in treating children with a variety of disorders including: selective mutism, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, social anxiety, aggressive/disruptive behavior, motor problems, and autism spectrum disorders (Bugget, 1999, Harvey, 2000).
The group meeting will be utilized for VSM instruction and the off-week will be utilized for reinforcement and practice in the school setting (supported by the school psychologist in the general education setting). The school psychologist will conduct random video samples of students on the playground, at lunch and in class in order to document progress and provide a means for feedback on skill development. The major advantage of the FlipVideo is that it is a compact and unobtrusive means of taking video clips. Students will review the video samples and evaluate themselves on a capacity matrix at each group meeting.

Phase 5: Wrap-up and Post Assessment of skills and self-awareness.
After a time period of approximately 8-10 weeks, each student will again rate themselves on the social/interpersonal skills checklist, teachers will complete a checklist and self-awareness will be assessed through the use of in-group observations, video clip review, and self-ratings completed by students. Each student will leave the group with a video portfolio of their journey and skills development from start of the group to the end.
This project will benefit students by providing them with a realistic perspective regarding their own social and interpersonal skills and how they relate to others. They will gain increased self-awareness of their needs and increased ability to use effective social and interpersonal skills. Research also shows that students with effective personal social skills achieve at a higher level in school and have increased chances of success in the work environment after school. Students will also benefit by gaining increased skills in utilizing technology and creative demonstration of their work in the group.

Materials: Flip Video, CDs and DVDs, Bags and Cases, Flash/USB Drives, Video Tools, Autism, Cause and Effect, Speech and Language