Social Stories on Paying Attention

Instructor: Bethany Calderwood

Bethany has taught special education in grades PK-5 and has a master's degree in special education.

Teachers often use social stories to correct or reinforce student behavior. In this lesson, you will find sample social stories dealing with the issue of paying attention.

Pay Attention!

If you've said it once, you've said it a hundred times, ''Pay Attention!'' Students often have trouble paying attention both in and out of class. One way to address the problem is using social stories. Social stories explain desired behavior using simple, relevant scenarios. These social stories address the issue of how to pay attention and why paying attention is important.

Social Stories on Paying Attention

I Didn't Know About It!

Yesterday I failed my science test because I didn't study. Why didn't I study? I wasn't paying attention, and I didn't know there was a test. Dad was not happy when I told him.

Today I have to rush around and finish my book report. First, I need to get a book from the library and read it. I think I'm going to be up really late tonight! When I asked Dad to take me to the library, he wanted to know why my teacher would give us only one night to do a book report. I said we got the assignment two weeks ago, but I guess I wasn't paying attention. I forgot about it until today, so now I need to hurry.

Dad reminded me that this isn't the first time I've failed a test or done work late because I wasn't paying attention. He said we need to get a system in place to help me know what work I have to do and get it done on time. He is setting up a meeting with my teacher. Dad says, ''I didn't know about it'' is not a good excuse for not doing my work. I need to learn to pay attention.


This morning, I bumped into the coffee table and hurt my shin. Ouch!

At school, I was rushing to line up and bumped my elbow on the bookshelf. Ouch!

In gym class, I wasn't looking where I was going and bumped into Susan. We both fell down. Ouch!

When I went to the school nurse, she told me, ''Please, look where you're going! Pay attention! You need to be safe.''

I think that's good advice. I don't need any more bruises.

Paying Attention Is Hard

Every once in a while I hear my teacher say, ''Pay attention, Katie!''

I try to pay attention in class, but there are so many interesting things to pay attention to outside the classroom. When I look out the window, there are clouds drifting through the sky. I can see some tree branches and a bird that lands on the branches and then flies away. Then I realize that I have not been paying attention to the teacher and I don't know what we're doing.

Inside the classroom, I see that Sarah Beth has a new sweater. I like the pattern, but I can't remember if the pattern is called an argyle or a plaid. I want to ask Sarah Beth later, but I'm wondering if that will make me sound weird. Suddenly, my teacher asks me a question, but I have no idea what she is talking about.

I open my math book and notice that we are on chapter 17. I wonder how many chapters are in the book. I remember that my cousin is 17, and I am going to her birthday party next week. All of my cousins will be there, and we will eat cake. I hope the cake is chocolate, because I don't like vanilla very much. Then I hear my teacher tell us to write down our homework, and I realize that I have not been paying attention again.

Paying attention is hard!

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