Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Guidance Lesson: Problem Solving

Guidance Lesson: Problem Solving 

This activity provides students the opportunity to learn that sometimes problems are best solved with help or support from trusted adults, friends, and professional. By working together in teams, students learn how to give and receive help in order to solve problems. Students will complete tasks and show they are able to work as a team. After this lesson student will be able to identify who they can ask for help with problems. Students will be asked to discuss support systems and be able to identify people who can help them stay safe. This is especially important for students whose diverse needs may not be met by general education settings. This can lead to students feeling “weird”, “different”, and isolated. These students may be marginalized and struggle to make or recognize the supports around them. It is important for these students to know there are people who can help them and it is okay to ask for help. This lesson focuses on the support students have in an environment that increases the likelihood of concrete safe resources.

·         Teach students how supports can help them solve problems. Sometimes it can be difficult to make decisions and solving problems can seem overwhelming. Students may not realize there are people in their lives that can help them make finding solutions easier. Students may not know who is safe or who they can go to with their struggles.
·         Ask students what they do if they need help with a problem, to activate prior knowledge and as a pre-test.

Developmental Learning Activities designed to meet the objective(s)

·         After talking with the students about who they go to when they need help, explain to the students the activity they are going to do represents difficult problems they encounter in their lives.
·         Explain that the task is to use a towel to pass a ball back and forth through a Hula hoop. This task is very difficult and could be overwhelming to try alone.
·         The solution is to have classmates help each other to accomplish the goal (passing a ball back and forth through a Hula Hoop holding the ball in a towel).
·         One way is to have the students separated into groups of 5. Each group will have 2 towels, 1 ball, and 1 Hula hoop.  
·         1 person will hold the Hula Hoop with 2 people on each side. The pairs on each side will hold a towel, like a hammock, between them. You place the ball in the towel and the students will then try to pass the ball through the hoop to the pair of students holding a towel on the other side.
·         The goal is to have the students work together to pass the ball back and forth through the hoop, without touching it with their hands.
·         This task can be modified to fit the needs of the students. They can sit on the floor and roll the ball through the hoop to each other, or carry the ball in the towel like a stretcher around the hoops as if it were an obstacle course. The purpose is to have the students help each other to be successful.  
·         Have the students sit down and imagine if they had tried to accomplish the task alone. Would it have been easier or more difficult? It should be easier to accomplish the task with help.
·         Explain that the activity was meant to demonstrate the way we can get help to solve difficult problems.

·         Summarize: Today you learned that it can be easier to solve problems when we have help.
·         Pass note cards out to each student.
·         As a post-test, ask the students again what they can do if they have a difficult problem. Students should now be able to identify specific support persons. You can facilitate this by asking “Who can help you understand directions or Homework?” “Who can you ask for help if you are sick?” “Who can help you if you are in danger?”
·         Have the students write down three people they can go to for help with difficult problems on their cards. For students with a strong support system, that finish early, you can explain to them that being calm helps solve problems too. Have them write down something they can do to calm themselves when they have a problem (i.e. deep breathing, count to ten).
·         Check for understanding throughout the lesson.

Closing and Follow up
·         Students will keep the cards to with their answers on as a reference.
·         You can follow up by having the students write down new people that help them or put tally marks next to the support person they have accessed over time.

·         Note Cards
·         Pencils
·         1 towel per pair of students
·         1 Ball for each group
·         1 Hula Hoop for each group

When this lesson was presented stickers were also used as a reward to get students to answer questions and participate. This was fun and gave the students something that they could decorate their cards. Stickers can also be used as a follow up reward for using the cards. We did this lesson in the fall so we stayed in the classroom, and it could be a good one to take outside for a small group. This lesson can easily get a little chaotic and may need to be modified for students with a sensory profile by having them roll the ball back and forth. In addition, a visual schedule for students helped them know what to expect next in the lesson. Finally, be prepared for students to drop the balls. We used this to talk a little about how being calm helped us accomplish tasks. This provides an excellent opportunity to encourage perseverance and have the students keep trying.   

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