When I was a BCBA for the public school system, a big part of my job was to determine if the child was displaying behaviors that impede them from classroom learning. In order to assess this, two (of many) behaviors that needed to be measured were on-task behavior and participation.
It was easy to collect enough on-task data as not only could I clearly observe if the student was complying with directives, engaging in work activities or referencing the teacher, but there was ample opportunity for this behavior to occur.
On the other hand, the data set for class participation was typically so small it was hard to consider it an accurate picture of the student's ability.
I was always able to report if the student was physically attending, but not if that student was actually comprehending what they were attending to.
We can’t afford to use the same method when it comes to teaching social skills.
We need our kids to be IN-TASK not just ON-TASK.
In-task behavior is when I can see if the student is actively engaged in their social learning.
You don’t have to bombard the kids with questions to get them to do this. Your key to success is to create the opportunities in a non-pressurized way.
Incorporate movement with as many activities as you can. Ensure your environment is safe and judgment free. Tap into your students' interests by bringing up their favorite topics and creating activities around that. Really get to know your students and it will become easier and easier to make groups where the kids want to engage.
As opposed to most of their school day, your Social Skills Group should be one where the kids are doing the talking and you are doing the listening.