Social Stories for Classroom Behavior

Instructor: Lori Sturdivant

Lori has a specialist's degree in Instructional Leadership/Mild Moderate and currently serves as the Lead Teacher for The University of Southern Mississippi's Autism Project.

Are you considering using social stories to manage behaviors in the classroom? This lesson will teach you how to write social stories for increasing desired behaviors, as well as decreasing problem behaviors.

What Are Social Stories?

Social stories are short stories that introduce specific scenarios, situations, events, activities, etc., that students might encounter at school, home, or even in their communities. These stories use narratives to let the student know what they might expect in a particular situation, and how they should respond to each situation. When writing your stories, use actual pictures of the people, places, and things that are present when the behavior is. The real-life visuals will hook the student and keep them engaged.

Social Stories for Decreasing an Undesired Behavior

Appropriate behavioral skills are generally learned by watching and interacting with others. Students who have issues in behavior can benefit from more explicit instructions, such as social stories.

Problem Behavior

When Jane becomes frustrated she will bite the teacher, and pull her own hair.

Line 1: This is Jane's mouth and hair. (Insert picture of Jane's hair and mouth.)

Line 2: Jane keeps her hands and mouth to herself. (Insert picture of Jane with hands in lap.)

Line 3: Sometimes when Jane is angry, she bites her teacher and pulls her own hair. (Insert Jane's angry face.)

Line 4: This can hurt Jane and her teacher. (Insert teacher's sad/hurt face.)

Line 5: Jane should not pull her hair or bite her teacher.

Line 6: Jane should ask for help when she is frustrated. (Insert pictures of how to ask for help, e.g., raising hand, etc.)

Line 7: If Jane feels frustrated, she should go to the calming spot to cool off. (Insert picture of the calming spot.)

Line 8: If Jane asks for help instead of biting her teacher, she will get a pink smiley sticker. (Insert picture of the sticker.)

Problem Behavior

During English class, Marcus shouts out questions without raising his hand. This behavior is disruptive to the learning environment and gets the class off task.

Line 1: This is Mrs. Smith's English class. (Insert picture of the classroom.)

Line 2: Mrs. Smith has a lot of students who are ready to learn! (Insert picture of students.)

Line 3: Sometimes in class, Marcus has questions about the assignments. (Insert confused face.)

Line 4: Marcus asks Mrs. Smith for her help. (Insert teacher talking to a student.)

Line 5: To get help from Mrs. Smith Marcus raises his hand. (Insert picture of a student raising a hand.)

Line 6: Sometimes Mrs. Smith is talking or helping other students.

Line 7: Marcus knows Mrs. Smith will help him when she can so he sits quietly with his hand raised and waits his turn.

Line 8: Sometimes it is hard for Marcus to wait his turn, but he knows if he is patient and does not shout out at Mrs. Smith his clip will stay on green.)

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