Did you have a slam book as a kid? We remember using slam books to share favorite things, classroom crushes, and recommendations for friends.
Our idea is a slight variation of these popular social tools. We are suggesting that teachers create social skill slam books for their students needing advice and guidance from peers on topics such as making friends and dealing with stress. Because so many of the students we support are visual, we have also changed our format to include pictures of classmates instead of just their secrets and words of advice.
To create a slam book, decide on the social skills you want to target and develop simple questions based on these skills. Sample questions include:
- What are some topics you like to discuss with your friends?
- How do you start a conversation with someone new?
- How do you deal with anxiety?
- How do you cope with a low grade?
Then, ask your student with social challenges to choose a few peers he or she respects and would like to use as advisors.
On the first page of your book “introduce” the advisors by writing a few sentences about each and putting a photo there of the group. On each page thereafter, write one question on the left side of the book and 3-4 answers on the right side. Include a photo of each respondent by his or her answer.
Give this book to the student to study proactively or bring it out during confusing or frustrating moments. Add new pages as challenges emerge.
Consider adding the student’s own voice to the book in spots. In other words, let the book serve as a tool for positive self-talk
For more differentiation ideas for K-12 classrooms, check out From Text Maps to Memory Caps [Paul Brookes Publishing].