How to Improve Social Skills that Teens Need for Life

If you need some ideas for how to improve teen social skills that they need in their daily lives, and a freebie, keep on reading! 

Whether your students have autism, an emotionally disturbed label,  nonverbal language disorder, or lack higher-level language skills, you surely have seen situations where students don’t function well in social situations with their peers.

Tips and a free download for how to improve social skills teens need for life!
Do your teens ever tell you about disagreements they are having?

Maybe each of the students involved are kids that usually get along, and you just didn’t expect this disagreement. 

Maybe the student is a really nice kid who somehow manages to get in disagreements often, with no clue of how it happened.

Maybe the student is a bit hot-headed and easy to anger, so really needs some help learning how to work things out.

Think about this:

Maybe the disagreement broke out because one teen misunderstood the other.

Maybe one kid responded inappropriately because they misread nonverbal cues.

Maybe one student didn’t understand the nonliteral language being used in a conversation and gave an off base response.

Do any of these scenarios sound familiar to you? This can happen at any time and really impacts how well our students work in groups, their friendships, and their social interactions. And I know how hard it is to find appropriate level materials to address these needs because I searched and searched!

Now you can engage your students and improve language for real-life social skills!

The free download, shown in these pictures, shows you what is included in each unit. Try it out and see how engaged your teens can be!

Download this free, no prep social skills unit for teens to foster great discussions!
Each unit has a common social scenario based around a photo that can be used for improving nonverbal communication skills: facial expressions, gestures, and body language.

The scenarios include figurative language, nonliteral language, and idioms to improve higher-level language skills. If your students need some extra comprehension help, don’t worry! The complete units also have another scenario to start with that has lower-level vocabulary and literal language to ensure that students understand the scene.

Each scenario comes with discussion questions, and an answer key to guide your discussion, so there is no prep involved! You can concentrate most on what each particular mixed group needs, whether it is nonverbal language, nonliteral language, or both!

Use the follow-up worksheets for classwork or homework!

Each worksheet provides additional practice to follow up after your group discussions. Use the most appropriate for each student or use them all!

Download this free, no prep social skills unit for teens to foster great discussions!
After discussing the story idioms, your students can review with this printable worksheet for explaining the meanings in the story context. If your students need to start at a more concrete level and get more practice, be sure to download the free bonus pages, too.

Download this free, no prep social skills unit for teens to foster great discussions!
Students can get practice summarizing the important story details and determining cause-effect relationships, as well as beginning problem solving, using this worksheet.

Download this free, no prep social skills unit for teens to foster great discussions!
With this worksheet, students explain the problem from the character's perspective and offer two solutions, justifying each.

Then they choose the best solution and explain why they thought that was best.

Download this free, no prep social skills unit for teens to foster great discussions!
Make sure that your students comprehended the group discussion and retained important details with this worksheet. They take the character's perspective to fill in a thinking bubble, define idioms, and explain important details from the social scenario.

Download this free, no prep social skills unit for teens to foster great discussions!
There are also game cards for practicing the new nonliteral language from each scenario! 

Use these cards in matching activities, with your own board games, or download the free printable board game you will have access to when you join the 'It Looks Like Language to Me!' Facebook group.

There are so many higher language skills are covered in each scenario that your mixed groups will be a piece of cake! When you see how engaged your students are in these real-life scenarios that have meaning for them, you will want more!

No worries! There are lots more scenarios available!

Social Inferences 1:

~ A fight before a date
~ Forgetting something important
~ An argument at school
~ Cyber-bullying
~ Getting bad news over the phone[0]=68.ARCn-HKI1egB4BGbNdzU_2cFHMqLZ2fPD20PEHPEqpOjz7xJJdTVahBaTf1NfMD9SRTZrwEdLjzG6sRGk3atVQJsk4FzYnsy2KTyoW03llywm5bW2mMW20-vM0a6488039YOj3suNZgcKnASK3b8zUtjHA2nB2mICht5DCElROku1GWERRMZ3qlAqFdArqCKVptkxKqI9Hsqs2ddlueXjB_hhUiSjhGU3d40LkOe7A_T6Hqwc-9Q21qSZkpEzJuCTKmWUVEx9xkc_yB3_LXjK3G1ZFnGHeVnVQtYzzOsZCpOxvH9GJfjL1sDLBHcWw74V4wiuTiPI4TbhGHJO_oRe67mug&__tn__=HH-R

Social Inferences 2:

~ Sister problems
~ Being honest in a relationship
~ Teasing Trouble
~ Being left out
~ Getting bullied

Social Inferences 3:

~ Missing Your Best Friend
~ A Fight with Your Sister
~ Relationship Problems
~ Talking at the Movies
~ Disapprove of Peers

To get your free bonus pages of the literal level of ‘A Friend Picks a Fight’ head on over to join my FB group ‘It Looks Like Language to Me.’


3 Inexpensive, Quick Tips for Teaching Old and New

Thanksgiving is a great time for teaching the concepts old and new! You can have fun doing this using felt, which is inexpensive, quick to prepare and can be used from year to year. Best of all, it lets you reinforce short-lived classroom vocabulary while teaching concepts that can be used over and over again.

3 inexpensive quick tips for fun movement activities in speech/language therapy for Thanksgiving and year round!
Felt boards are one of my favorite kinds of activities for young students since they learn best when manipulating objects and moving around. And it is inexpensive and quick to set up! You don’t even need to buy an expensive felt board to use felt activities. Just go to your local fabric store and buy a large piece of felt in your favorite color.

1. Get Your Felt Board Ready

- If you have a corkboard on your wall, tack it there.

- If you don’t, get a dowel or yardstick at any craft or hardware store. Roll the edge of the felt piece over it and glue the ends together. Make sure that the ends of the dowel stick out far enough past the edges of the felt that you can tie the ends of a cord on each side. Yarn and string will also work.

- Attach it to your wall with a nail, to a magnetic board using a strong magnetic clip that can grip the cord, to the hooks that are above the old fashioned blackboards, over a doorknob…..

It is easy to make and hang your own felt board!
You get the idea- you can make it work! But, since this is Looks Like Language, here is a photo of a really funny wall hanging that my daughter-in-law gave to me. See that the dowel goes through the seam and has a cord tied on? Presto- instant wall hanging!

2. Make your felt sets.

While felt sets for sale are adorable, don’t despair if you can’t afford them! And you don’t have to painstakingly cut out pieces of felt, either.

Just take any unlaminated pictures you want to use and glue them to pieces of felt with regular school glue. Spread it thin, let it dry and you have an instant felt set!

3. Fun activities with movement built in!

Thanksgiving is a perfect time for teaching concepts in speech therapy!
1)  Have the students label the pictures they want to place on the felt board. Use additional pictures, like the old and new houses in the photo, and you have a sorting task for old and new.

2) Put all of the felt pictures on the board. Ask a question and let a student go find the answer.

3)  Give some clues about one of the pictures and see if the student can find which one you are talking about- an instant activity for building inference skills!

4)  Glue the pictures onto square pieces of felt, make duplicates, and you have a movement memory game.

Thanksgiving themed fun with felt in speech/language therapy.
      5)  Turn one set of pictures over so that the photo doesn’t show. Let your students take turns throwing a beanbag at the felt wall so that a picture falls down. If they use their target skill correctly, they get to keep the picture. When all of the pictures have fallen, the student with the most collected is the winner.  

       6)  Bring the same old and new pictures back in the winter to review. Use a soft fabric snowball for the same activity and you have indoor snowball play!

7)   Make your life even easier and check out these great Thanksgiving activities at varying levels!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Quick Tips to Save You Time and Money for Years

Do you know an SLP who doesn’t want quick and easy tips to save time for years to come? Of course not! So be sure to save this post to your tips board!

These fun holiday themed activities let you work on any goals!
TIP 1: Remember that the holiday vocabulary is not the focus of the session.

While it isn’t worth our precious time to teach holiday words that only get used yearly, nothing says that we can’t incorporate holiday themes into our therapy sessions in a fun way! This lets students continue to make progress on their specific IEP goals in a festive way.

TIP 2: Cut out basic holiday shapes and laminate.

All you need is some holiday-themed construction paper to cut into basic shapes. If you know someone with a die-cut machine, it is even easier!

Mixed groups in speech therapy are easy with these fun  activities!
TIP 3: Individualize the shapes.

In the picture above, you can see the colorful pilgrim shapes that I used for years.  They are individualized with the addition of pictures for the students’ goals added on with double-sided sticky tape.  If you don’t have double-sided, a rolled-up piece of sticky tape will do!

You can also use a dry erase marker to quickly write on the words your students need to practice, or let them say the words 5 times correctly and then write it for you!

TIP 4: Quick changes are fast and easy!

If you don’t feel like making enough shapes for all of your groups, just keep a full-page laminated sheet nearby. It is fast and easy to swap out a set of articulation pictures for a set of action pictures, for example!

These easy to do group therapy activities tips will work for any holiday!
TIP 5: There are so many ways to use these!

👀 Make mixed groups easy by turning the picture side down and giving each student a set.  Combine varied sets of holiday theme shapes to elicit descriptive words:

•  the color item.
•  small or large.
•  old versus new, clean versus dirty.
•  the functions of the various shapes.

👀 Place the shapes in a square array to have students request using positional words:

•  the color item on the bottom/middle/top.
•  the color item on the left/center/right.
•  the color item that is above/below the color item.

👀 Write question words on one side and a picture on the other. Students are only allowed to keep the card if they correctly ask and answer a question using both words.

👀Add in picture cards from any sets you own to target specific goals before choosing a card. These Thanksgiving photo cards allow for a variety of goals to be addressed.

Then you can add little surprises like these to the backs of the cards that older students appreciate, like:

• No homework today!
• You earned an extra point!
• Bonus minute for free time!

The sky is the limit with how these can be used! Just remember to erase or take off the tape before storing them for next year!
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