EMS social skills students playing "Chat Chain"

El Dorado Middle School offers an elective class titled "Social Skills"  facilitated by LuAnne Vides. One of the many activities students participate in is a "Social Skills Game Day'' where students are guided in and evaluated on the art of navigating society in a controlled setting using games as the activity. It is presented in a way that models life in a casual setting. Some of the skills learned and practiced during this activity include how to develop an inclusion mindset, using appropriate language in a social setting, contributing to a safe environment, balancing competitiveness with cooperation, winning or losing graciously, and tolerance. Students are encouraged to read the directions for a game, agree on the versions of the rules, and work out disagreements in a civilized way. 

The students and teacher are grateful and fortunate to have received some games for this class through a PIE grant awarded by the Dave and Sherry Clymer Memorial Fund that fosters student success with these objectives.

One of the new games is called "Head Rush." It is a game for three to eight players ages 12 and up. It is played similar to UNO where brain colors are to be matched up, but more importantly, players must read from a card and finish the statement written there. Two examples from the cards are "My favorite go-to snack is..." or "one thing on my bucket list is..." This game sparks great conversations!

"In addition to all the other objectives, we like to have fun while we learn!" Vides said. "We are thankful to PIE for providing support to our social skills class by helping us add to our bank of social skills games."

Another game they received is called "Chat Chains" for two to eight players ages 8 and up. It uses question and response cards to teach emotional awareness. It was developed by psychologists from the company ThinkPsych. Players try to achieve the highest team score as well as overall individual score by answering questions from a question card in order to place their card in the "chain" to earn points. This game helps to develop conversation skills and build connections with others.

Article and photos courtesy of LuAnne Vides.