Developing Social Skills & Rapport in the Classroom Through the Use of Writing

Monday, July 1, 2019

Many times I have noticed over the years that kids, just like adults get comfortable in their friendships with those who have the same interests as them. To be honest I am just like that too. But in the classroom sometimes we have students who struggle with social skills. These students struggle to initiate a conversation while other students may be unaware that other classmates struggle with this. Many times when an area is easy for us it can almost seem like we are blind to others that struggle in that area. It is definitely a special gift/trait when a student recognizes another classmate who doesn't feel included or is shy and helps them join in and feel welcome. 

One way in my classroom that I like to work on helping students develop various social skills/ rapport is through collaborative activities. One in particular is through my Classmate Biography Writing Project. 

I use this activity when we are working on our writing skills and learning about biographies. Many times I will let the students pair up with a friend as their partner but for this activity I specifically pair students up to put them "outside of their comfort box" you might say because their partner is someone who they normally wouldn't pick. 
With this activity the students have a set interview with prompts that help to promote conversation. As they interview one another I have found that many times students who wouldn't normally partner up begin to find that they may actually have something in common or that working with each other wasn't as bad as they thought. It can help to build new relationships within the classroom and help students work on developing their communication skills through the writing interview prompts. They then take all their information and begin writing the biography about their classmate. If they need more information they go back and initiate more conversation to get the information they need. 
  So in the end what the students thought was just a fun writing mini-project actually helped to build class rapport and individual social skills.

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