Back to School Social Skills Idea: Social Time Capsules


I hope all of my educator friends had a great 1st week back to school!  Here we are again – returning to week two of school.  In this
post, I wanted to share an idea you could use with elementary age students during your social skill groups in September.  SOCIAL TIME CAPSULES are a fun way to help kids get to know group-mates, or to catch up with returning students about summer activities and current interests.  There is also a student interview component to get a picture of how a student views their current social
involvement and status of social comfort.

Materials to Gather:
Cardboard paper towel roll inserts (or just some sturdy tag paper rolled up and taped to form a tube).
Variety of wrapping paper prints
Clear tape
Yarn or ribbon
Student copies of:  Time Capsule Favorites,  Social Experience Questionnaire (documents are attached with this blog post)
Markers, yarn, blank white paper

How to Make the Social Time Capsule:

Essentially, students will create a little portfolio of documents to roll up and put into their time capsule.  I usually have my students complete the activities within the initial weeks of school, then repeat them during the final couple weeks of school when you are fresh out of ideas, the kids are spent, and you have a mountain of final IEPs and progress notes looming.

1)    Explain the concept of a Time Capsule to students – a chance for people to know what life was “back then”.   (We happen
to have time capsule at my school building that was buried upon the dedication of the building in 1965, so I usually trek outside with my groups to show them where it is buried.  However, no one around there really knows when we will actually open it.) 
Explain that each student will make a SOCIAL TIME CAPSULE to capture information about themselves and friendships to review 9 months from now to see what life was like “way back in September.”

2)    The most noteworthy components of the project are the Social Experience interview you will conduct with each child
individually and the “Favorites” sheet kids complete themselves.  Take each child individually for a 5 minute interview using the Social Experience Questionnaire.  While students are waiting for their interview turn, they can work on their “Favorites” sheets.

Note:  You may want to make a copy of the Social Experience Questionnaires to keep in the child’s working file, as it may offer valuable information about how the child perceives his/her social life and friendships.  This may be a tool to use when communicating with families, team members, and targeting intervention needs as the year progresses. 

3)     Complete other filler activities for the Capsules such as:  measuring child’s height with yarn, tracing and cutting out handprints and footprints, doing fingerprints, self-portrait, etc.

4)    Students roll their papers and project items and place them into the tubes.  Wrap the tubes with wrapping paper and use yarn/string to cinch and tie the ends.

5)    Collect the time capsules.  You could proclaim you are burying them for the school year, or you could toss them in a box and leave them in the back of your mini-van for 9 months like I did last school year. 🙂

6)    In June, repeat the activities and have a “opening ceremony” of the fall time capsules!  I usually like to invite students to share about the changes they have made especially related to their “Favorites” and their social perceptions.

Once again, you can find the Social Experience Questionnaire and the “Favorites” sheets attached here!

Social Experience Questionnaire

Time Capsule Favorites
Enjoy this activity!


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