NEWS FLASH: A major meta-analysis of 213 studies showed an average 11 percent gain in academic performance for kids receiving explicit social-academic learning instruction.
Turns out this “soft stuff” about creating a culture of respect and rapport yields hard and fast gains, and that’s no surprise to collaboration “gurus” Harvey “Smokey” Daniels and Nancy Steineke. Now, these authors share a yearlong plan for helping you build powerful and binding peer-to-peer interactions. The added bonus: Your kids will meet speaking and listening standards, while you score better on classroom-engagement rubrics.
Teaching the Social Skills of Academic Interaction taps the instructional power of slides, full-color illustrations, and super succinct directions to teach both the language and the behaviors of working effectively with others. These 35 lessons take your kids on a carefully paced upward spiral of collaboration, with explicit coaching on how to speak, listen, argue, persuade—and get along. Here’s the best part: You model and your students practice these social skills with the content of your curriculum, not in disconnected add-on exercises.
For each lesson, there are six to 25 slides that focus on one vital academic-social skill; step-by-step teaching tips are in the lie-flat planning book. The sequence looks mostly like this:
- The first slides introduce the skill—like being a good partner or arguing both sides of a controversial topic—then explain its value.
- The next slides help model the skill in action, using whatever curricular topic you happen to be teaching.
- Now, kids’ active thinking is invited as you co-create strategies to enhance use of the target social-academic skill.
- Additional slides help kids practice the skill using your curricular content as you monitor and support.
- Lessons end with a debriefing to solidify new understandings.
Any way you look at Teaching the Social Skills of Academic Interaction, it’s a win-win. Your students realize better engagement in curriculum topics, higher performance, and social skills to last a lifetime. That’s really college and career ready! And our schools become safer harbors, where students know one another, respect one another, and learn together.
Longtime collaborators themselves, HARVEY “SMOKEY” DANIELS and NANCY STEINEKE have written six books together and are regular co-presenters at all the major literacy conferences. Both are former public school teachers who now work as national consultants, helping schools and districts to create friendly, supportive, and collaborative climates for young people.