Social Skills Behavior Chart Ideas

Instructor: Clio Stearns

Clio has taught education courses at the college level and has a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction.

Helping students develop their social skills is an important part of your job as a teacher. This lesson offers ideas for behavior charts that target social skills.

Why Use Behavior Charts for Social Skills?

Are you concerned about the social competency of some or all of your students? Increasingly, as teachers, we are learning that we are responsible for aspects of students' social and emotional well being in addition to their academic development. Helping students improve their social behaviors isn't always easy, but it can be so important to our students' lives and emotional landscapes.

One way to help students develop strong social skills is by using behavior charts in the classroom. Behavior charts are successful because they specify concrete skills, breaking them down into manageable achievements. Behavior charts are ways to reward students for their successes while they gradually develop sustainable good habits.

The behavior chart ideas in this lesson are oriented toward helping your students grow their social skills. Please note that you will want to pinpoint precise skills for any behavior chart you use; some examples might include:

  • making eye contact while talking to another person
  • saying friendly things to other people
  • listening while others are talking
  • joining in a game or activity with others

Make sure that students understand the goals and are on board with them before instituting a behavior chart in your classroom.

Individual Chart

Sometimes, you will want to use a behavior chart to target social skills with an individual student who really seems to be struggling. To make a chart like this, create a grid representing each day of the week. Break each day into three to four chunks, such as morning, lunch and recess, afternoon. The student has an opportunity to earn a star for demonstrating the expected behavior during each of these periods.

Jane's Chart Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday

Gradually, as the student develops more competence with one skill, you can add a second skill. Alternatively, you can break the day into a higher quantity of time periods.

A good reward for this kind of behavior chart might be a free pass on homework, a small prize like a sticker, or the chance to have lunch alone with the teacher.

Small Group Behavior Chart

Often, the need for social skills instruction comes up with small groups of students who have developed negative social habits together. To make a chart for a small group, create a grid that represents the most frequently problematic times of the day as well as the opportunity to earn a star for good social behavior. It is important to explain that all members of the group will have to demonstrate the target behavior in order to earn a star; students will be invested in helping each other succeed so that they can all work toward the reward together.

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