Friend Files: A Social Emotional Learning Tool
Rebecca Bacon, Speech-Language Pathologist at 45th Street
In speech-language pathology sessions, or what we call “speech turns” at Aaron School, students often work towards pragmatic language goals to improve their social skills. Recently, students assigned to Ms. Bacon’s speech turns created “Friend Files,” a visual tool adapted from Social Thinking. Social Thinking is an evidence-based methodology used to teach foundational social emotional learning (SEL) skills to children, teens and young adults.
To compile their Friend Files, students determined a few questions they were interested in asking peers, interviewed classmates, then took notes on important information to converse about in the future. They learned about each other’s favorite foods, sports, families, hobbies, and more. Then, they practiced starting and maintaining conversations about topics they knew their classmates were interested in while using colored blocks to keep track of who’s turn it was to contribute to the conversation next.
Friend Files can be used throughout the school day during unstructured activities such as lunch, choice time, snack, and visits to the park. They help students develop strong friendships and have meaningful interactions with peers, a goal that Aaron School encourages as students progress from elementary school to middle school and through high school.