I love teaching and working on social skills with my students. I’m a big fan of Michelle Garcia Winner and incorporate a lot of her Social Thinking concepts and vocabulary terms when working on these important skills. I think one of the foundational skills to work on is identifying expected vs unexpected behaviors. If the student does not know a behavior is unexpected then he/she will not know to change the behavior. I often write goals for my students which include identifying expected and unexpected behaviors; as well as, having the student provide 1-2 expected and 1-2 unexpected behaviors within a given social situation. These are both such important skills for our students. To work on these goals, I needed simple behavior task cards that provided examples of both positive and negative behaviors. I created a set of 45 Behavior Task cards to work on this skill.
Each behavior task card has a visual paired with a sentence about what is happening in the situation. I have used these cards when doing remote therapy and in person therapy. Since the visual scenes are simple and clear I held up the card and read it to the group. For example, “Conner pulls Lucy’s hair and laughs.” I have one student tell me if the behavior is expected or unexpected and the other students in the group can give a thumbs up if they agree or thumps down if they don’t agree. I do this both during remote and in person therapy.
Depending on the students in my group, I extend the task and have my students tell me how the kids in the picture feel, why it is a good choice/bad choice, and how to correct the situation if needed. For example, after my told me that the card “Anna tilts back in her chair during class” was an unexpected behavior I asked them “why is that unexpected?” We discussed how Anna could fall and hit her head or she could lean back and bother the person behind her. I asked; “What is expected behavior when sitting on your chair at your desk?” The expected behavior is to sit in the chair with both feet quietly on the floor. Some of the students do tip back in their chair so this was a perfect card to use.
It is also important to discuss why certain behaviors are good choices to help our students understand why they should do them too. For example, “Julie washes her hands before eating lunch” or “Brian passes out hand sanitizer” are both good choices. We discussed how we need to keep our hand clean so we don’t spread germs. We talked about wanting to keep our friends and family healthy and safe.
You can also sort the cards into good choices/expected behaviors and bad choices/unexpected behaviors. It depends on the wording you use with your students. You can do this as a group and have the student read the card and decide where to place the card.
Another option is you can have your students do this independently. Have the student read the card and determine what type of behavior it is. There are lots of ways you can use these cards with your students to work on social skills.
If you are interested in these cards you can find them on TPT with the link – Behavior Task Cards