This week we finished up our work on synergizing. We talked about working alone vs. working as a team and remembered that synergize means "together is better". I tied in how synergizing with others is like using our social smarts. We reviewed what that means: thinking about other people. The first and second graders took notes in their social detective notebooks about having our bodies and eyes in the group. That has to do with looking at the speaker and staying in proximity to the group and speaker. We talked and modeled both good and bad ways of these skills. Mrs. Szalay joined in and we modeled and role played giving each other personal space while still being in the group. We stood on construction paper and had to decide how close was just right. The kids were able to move their papers near and far to decide for themselves what felt just right. The kindergarten kids worked on expected and unexpected behaviors. We listed expected behaviors in the classroom and with peers. We talked about how being expected makes others have happy or good thoughts about you and unexpected behaviors tend to make others have unhappy or bad thoughts about you. That was a tricky concept, but this will be continued all year. Prompting and cueing not only what is expected/unexpected, but also using a wh quesion or how to make them think about how their actions impact others. Whew! That is hard stuff. Once kids have a good grasp on emotions and themselves (which is all being learned in the early years) they can move out of themselves and into thinking of other people---social smarts. If you have used the language or incorporated it at home or in the community, please share with us! In both groups we continued to read from the Social Detective book.
Megan McQuillan is the lower elementary teacher in the ASD program