Friday, 8 August 2014

Problem Solving

I love it when a simple activity takes a complete turn and challenge children to think and come up with solutions. My kinders are still learning letters and we occasionally play games to reinforce sounds. So it was the turn of letter b and I told the kiddos that they would get to burst a balloon if they could come up with a word beginning with the letter b. No where in the plan this activity was meant to teach children to problem solve but it did exactly that and our focus kinda shifted from learning words beginning with b to finding ways of bursting the balloons. I didn't really mind it because problem solving is an important part of executive functions. And research shows that executive function is a better predictor of academic success than IQ.

Reasoning and the ability to solve problems are also termed as fluid intelligence which is one of the components of human intelligence, the other being crystallized intelligence which involves the various memory systems of the brain. Both these components are used by all of us to survive and succeed in the ever changing world.
Children experience many problem solving situations in a day like taking turns, solving conflicts, waiting for their turn etc. As Educators, we can teach them steps to solve problems by discussing in a group, through puppets, stories and role plays.
One of the strategies i like to use in my classroom is called the "De-Bug" System. It is not a novel strategy and has been around for a long time but the ideas for the system comes from the children. And that makes it unique and easy for them to remember it.
You can download the poster for free from HERE

I also have a set of individual cards for the above steps. It has visual cues which children can refer to.
They can use the solution cards and sort their differences or problems.
Problem Solving Cards
You can download this product from my TPT STORE
Hope these strategies prove effective in your classrooms.

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