Week Three, Day One
- To comprehend the steps to solving a problem
- To explain problem solving strategies
In order to become team problem solvers groups need to learn how to cooperate. Learning to work together at something can decrease stress and anger and make the learning environment more enjoyable. We will focus on team-building activities to develop community in the classroom. The activity will focus on building social skills such as active listening, sharing, and conflict resolution.
We will begin by creating groups of four or five. An odd number of cookies will be placed on the table. The children in each group will need to come up with a strategy to share the cookies. The facilitator can prompt each group by asking, “How can we be sure that each of the group members receives the same number of cookies? What steps will you take to pass out the cookies?” Each group will be facilitated on a timely schedule to allow time for instructional conversation. The students will be asked to describe the steps they took throughout the activity to ensure that the cookies were divided equally by restating the procedure they used.
The Doorbell Rang,
by Pat Hutchins is a great story to integrate with math and modeling a problem solving strategy. The story begins with mom baking cookies for her two children. As the first batch is finished, the children sit to taste the cookies and the door bell rings. When they answer the door, some friends are waiting. They invite them in to share the cookies. As they divide the cookies, the doorbell rings again. This process continues three or four times until each child has one cookie. When the doorbell rings again, the problem becomes “What will they do now that there are no more cookies?” The solution becomes apparent when grandma arrives with a new batch of cookies. Using a Venn diagram to compare and contrast the strategic activities of the characters in the book and the students is a great way to arrive at alternate solutions.
Week Three, Day Two
- To promote sharing among students in the class
Sharing is a great strategy for problem solving, and it also portrays a feeling of self-worth. In the story
The Rainbow Fish
by Marcus Pfister, a beautiful fish whose scales consist of purple, green, pink, and shiny silver scales learns that by being selfish he is lonely. The other fish in the ocean admired the rainbow fish’s beauty. They would ask him to play but he would swim by and ignore them. One day a little fish asks the rainbow fish for one of his shiny scales. The rainbow fish shuns him and tells him to go away. The little fish expresses his unhappiness to the others and they choose to pay no attention to the rainbow fish. Now the rainbow fish is the loneliest fish in the sea. He decides to ask the other animals why nobody likes him. The wise octopus tells the rainbow fish that to discover happiness he must give each of the fish one of his shiny scales. He follows this advice and gives the little fish one of his scales. When he observes how happy the fish is, he feels good about himself. He then decides to offer his shiny scales to the rest of the fish. The more he gave away the more pleased he became. The other fish came to respect him for his generosity and this made him jubilant.
After reading the story we will discuss how the rainbow fish felt after sharing his shiny scales. As a team we will promote sharing behavior in the classroom. Each time a student recognizes a sharing behavior, they will place a marble in a jar. When the jar is full, they will receive a reward.
Week Three, Day Three
- To understand that we can learn from our peers
There are many arguments over who will go first, next and last whether it is in line, answering a question or playing a game. Many of our young students are unsure of how to solve these conflicts by taking turns, or working together. This story touches upon these issues and the author does a great job by using two twins, in a school setting, who learn from each other how to take turns and work together.
Meet the Barkers: Morgan and Moffat Go to School
, by Tomie DePaola depicts two twins that have very different personalities. Moffat was the first twin born therefore; she feels that she must be the first to do everything. Her brother Morgan is easy going and doesn’t mind that Moffat always has to be first. At school for the first time the twins are in class together. Moffat, who always likes to be on top, wins many gold stars, and Morgan, makes friends with his classmates.
As the week progresses Moffat continues to speak out, winning more gold stars but not allowing anyone else a turn. Mrs. Shepard, the teacher, has a talk with her about taking turns. Moffat leaves the conversation frustrated and discovers that she has no one to play with. She argues with a classmate who has used all the blocks she wanted. Morgan teaches Moffat to resolve the difference by working together with the classmate. By the end of the week, Morgan learns how to receive gold stars and Moffat gains a friend.
As a culminating team activity, the students will work in groups of four to build a gingerbread house. They will need to follow a recipe to create an edible structure from beginning to end.
Week Three, Day Four and Five
- To learn that behavior can have positive or negative outcomes.
We are all familiar with the story of
The Little Red Hen
by Paul Galdone. Galdone creates a human like world for his characters in a farmhouse that is furnished with chairs, tables, tools and a stove. The little red hen, an authoritative figure, tries to keep order in the household. She has to do all the work by herself, from cleaning the house to planting the wheat, to tending to the crops, and baking the cake while her friends, the cat, mouse, and dog sleep all day. The lesson learned in this story is that when you take responsibility, you share in the rewards.
To foster responsibility, each child will be assigned a job in the classroom. The jobs will be posted on a job wheel that will rotate weekly.