Explicitly teaching problem-solving skills to your students will have multiple benefits: easier classroom management, improved social-emotional learning, better self-regulation skills, and so much more. Finding the time and the resources to do it, though, can be tricky. My problem-solving task cards are here to help!
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Problem-Solving Task Cards
I wrote 32 prompts with common classroom scenarios. Everything from “A classmate took something out of my hand that I was using. What should I do?” to “I can’t get my jacket zipped up. What should I do?” These are common problems that come up in my classroom, and I know my students need help figuring out how to solve them.
Having task cards with the prompts written out ahead of time helps cut down on my planning time – I just need to pull the ring out, and I am ready to start my problem-solving lesson.
Problem-Solving Digital Slides
Don’t have the time to print them out? Go digital! Pull up the set of Google Slides with the prompts on them, and you can type the strategies that students come up with directly on the slides.
Problem-Solving Whole Group Instruction
I know that my students need to be explicitly taught the skills necessary to become problem solvers. Just like math and literacy skills, problem-solving is something that I want to model and teach my students.
I chose to use a puppet during these lessons (we have some similar to these ones). I had my students pick a name for our puppet (Lily), and they would help her solve all her classroom problems. My students loved Lily! I often heard students ask each other throughout the day, “What would Lily do?” when they encountered a problem.
After reading a prompt, students would give ideas on how to solve the problem. I would take the time to model what that would look like in our classroom.
This is what it might look like when reading a problem-solving prompt:
Me: “I am not able to open my snack or lunch container. What should I do?”
Student: “Get a teacher.”
Me: “How can you get your teacher’s attention?”
Student: “Raise your hand.”
Me: “Once your teacher is there, what words will you use to ask for help?”
Student: “I can’t open my container.”
Me: “So, we can say something like, “Can you please help me open my container? Thank you!” Great idea! Is there another way we can solve this problem?”
After coming up with our solution, I might even have students act out the parts for their peers. This way, everyone clearly understands how they can be a problem-solver in each scenario.
Become a Problem-Solver
Grab the problem-solving task cards and slide deck so that you can start teaching your students how to become problem-solvers in the classroom!