Had enough drama? Boost grammar practice with social skills for the win! {Freebie} | Mentoring in the Middle

Had enough drama? Boost grammar practice with social skills for the win! {Freebie}

 The kids you see after Winter break are not the kids you left before the break, right?  That's especially true if you teach 6th grade!  It's like their hormones go into overdrive, and you come back to drama and friendship problems that can take up a good portion of your day.

But that's time you don't really have since there's still so much content still to be taught.  Here are a couple of ways you can tackle this.

Class meetings

If you regularly hold class meetings, you already know what to do.  But even if you don't, getting the kids to turn around and face each other every so often is a good thing to do.  Simple rules: only one person talks at a time, raise your hand to be recognized, don't monopolize the conversation.

When I've had a chatty group, I've used a "talking stick," usually a stuffed animal.  Only the person holding it can speak and they hand it to the next person who has something to say.

Student-to-student discussions

Having the two students meet with you serving as the mediator is always helpful.  Make sure you lay the ground rules and stay out of the conversation, except to guide.  

My rules are that the students have to talk to each other, not to me.  That means that they have to make eye contact and they have to be honest about what happened, both in how it made them feel and in taking responsibility.  I've been blown away a number of times by how honest and forgiving students are with each other.

Infuse lessons with problem-solving

This is a new idea and one that I've created with a series of letters "to Raymond."  Students review grammar skills while reading about a problem someone is having.  The problems are pretty typical for 5th to 7th-grade students (and maybe others) and are all ones my own students experienced.

Click on these to check out the previews.  They might help you and your students!

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