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Why and How I Use Interactive Notebooks for Social Groups



I started using interactive notebooks for a social group when I was given the opportunity to teach a social skills class in a whole group setting. Typically, I like to keep my social groups under 5 students, max, in order to address every student individually. So this was a change and I had to figure out how to adapt to this new setting. I was unsure and terrified about teaching social skills to a whole classroom of 10-15 students until I implemented interactive notebooks. Interactive notebooks are great for SO many reasons and I have had a lot of success over this year using them!

First a couple tips…
Tip #1: Cut and prep the materials as much as possible. I know this may seem like a lot of work on the front end, but trust me when I say you don’t want to lose 15 minutes of instruction because your students are cutting out the activity. My goal is to make this less of an art activity and more of an interactive activity.

Tip #2: Don’t present this as busy work. The idea of each activity/worksheet is to complete it together, as a group. If the students see this as busy work in any way, it will be tough to get “buy in.”

Tip #3: Create a curriculum but be flexible. I like to have my months planned with an overarching theme such as, Whole Body Listening with 3 or 4 activities that teach that skill.

Tip #4: Use relatable social scenarios. If you’re teaching a high-functioning group of students who are tough to motivate, give them options on what they want to focus on. For example, I started teaching Whole Body Listening to a group of students who were already demonstrating Whole Body Listening. Needless to say, I saw a couple eye rolls. Get them involved by using age-appropriate topics and let them choose what they want to work on!

Tip #5: Switch it up. If you do a worksheet activity every day, they may not be as excited as if you switch it up and show a video model or ask for a volunteer to role play. You can always wrap up the session by having them journal in their notebook or add to their self-tracking sheet.

Why I have loved using an interactive notebook for social groups…
1) Interactive notebooks allow for students to keep track of their own progress with their individual social skills. It becomes a resource for them to refer back to when reflecting on social scenarios that they struggle with.

2) It is something tangible and comprehensive for the student and SLP to have when looking back at the year. This is great for carryover with parents, teachers, and support staff to refer to when they are teaching social skills.

3) Students really respond to taking control of their self-monitoring skills and progress. They enjoy seeing the progress they’ve made and become proud when they look at what they’ve learned and discussed in social group.

Don't forget to check out this interactive notebook resource for your therapy room. Let me know how you run your social groups!! I always enjoy hearing how other SLPs do it!
Lacee Johnson
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