Social Skills and The Size of the Problem

The need for social skills groups continues to grow at the elementary school where I teach.   We had enough students to form two groups this school year.  One group is made primarily of second graders and the other fourth and fifth graders. The counselor and I teach these classes together.
We have used  Leah Kuypers The Zones of Regulation® (www.zonesofregulation.com) and Michelle Garcia Winner’s Social Thinking® materials for our lesson planning.  Recently we have worked on identifying emotions and how they fall into the 5 zones.  For a brief overview, the Zones are 5 color coded signs that rank from the lowest blue zone of low alertness which relate to being calm,  or tired to the red zone of heightened alertness which relates to feelings such as anger or fear. You can  click on the web sites to obtain more explicit information.

Size of problem

These colors and zones can also be used when talking about the size of a problem. Students determine if a problem is at the lowest level which would be a glitch in our day or at the highest level a crisis difficult to correct. Other problems may fall somewhere in between. When compared with the zones of regulation students  can see if the emotional reaction is appropriate to the problem. This also leads to talking about possible solutions.
When starting this unit, I found it difficult to find appropriate scenarios for the students to rate. They came up with a few on their own but typically do not think of the full range. you would be surprised at how much comes in as being a crisis.  I created 26 cards with written scenarios.  I added another four blank cards that if drawn the student would make up their own. The scenarios are ones that are common to students. I used  Ned’s head for drawing out cards.  Ned’s head is a good way to add humor to the situation and remind students that they may be  thinking and seeing from one perspective inside their head. They can step out to see another perspective and problem solve.  Here are a sample of the cards.  You can down load them and test them out.  12 size of the problem.   The full set are here.

Ned

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