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Sudoku for Beginners: How to Improve Your Problem-Solving Skills
Are you a beginner when it comes to solving Sudoku puzzles? Do you find yourself frustrated and unsure of where to start? Fear not, as we have compiled a comprehensive guide on how to improve your problem-solving skills through Sudoku.
Understanding the Basics of Sudoku
Before we dive into the strategies and techniques, let’s first understand the basics of Sudoku. A Sudoku puzzle is a 9×9 grid that is divided into nine smaller 3×3 grids. The objective is to fill in each row, column, and smaller grid with numbers 1-9 without repeating any numbers.
Starting Strategies for Beginners
As a beginner, it can be overwhelming to look at an empty Sudoku grid. But don’t worry. There are simple starting strategies that can help you get started. First, look for any rows or columns that only have one missing number. Fill in that number and move on to the next row or column with only one missing number. Another strategy is looking for any smaller grids with only one missing number and filling in that number.
Advanced Strategies for Beginner/Intermediate Level
Once you’ve mastered the starting strategies, it’s time to move on to more advanced techniques. One technique is called “pencil marking.” This involves writing down all possible numbers in each empty square before making any moves. Then use logic and elimination techniques to cross off impossible numbers until you are left with the correct answer.
Another advanced technique is “hidden pairs.” Look for two squares within a row or column that only have two possible numbers left. If those two possible numbers exist in both squares, then those two squares must contain those specific numbers.
Benefits of Solving Sudoku Puzzles
Not only is solving Sudoku puzzles fun and challenging, but it also has many benefits for your brain health. It helps improve your problem-solving skills, enhances memory and concentration, and reduces the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
In conclusion, Sudoku is a great way to improve your problem-solving skills while also providing entertainment. With these starting and advanced strategies, you’ll be able to solve even the toughest Sudoku puzzles. So grab a pencil and paper and start sharpening those brain muscles.
This text was generated using a large language model, and select text has been reviewed and moderated for purposes such as readability.
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6 strategies to instill problem-solving skills in students.
Why Developing Problem-Solving Skills Is Important
Problem-solving is defined as the ability to quickly solve any given problem with ease. This requires convergent and divergent thinking skills. Convergent thinking is a process aimed to deduce a concrete solution to a problem. And, the process of exploring all the possible solutions to analyze and generate creative ideas is called divergent thinking.
People with good problem-solving skills are indeed an asset to society. Problem-solving also plays a vital role in child development. These skillsets are much sought-after in this competitive world and are therefore imperative for general life and workplace success .
Problem-solving is an important 21st-century skill because it determines one’s personal development, employment prospects, and overall contribution to society.
6 Practical Ways To Foster Critical Thinking In Students
1. promote skill building through self-directed learning .
Research  proved that self-directed learning promotes critical thinking in students as it allows them to fully explore their creative and imaginative sides. It fosters the ability of independent thinking in students and eventually promotes a sense of self-actualization in them. Today, the principle of autonomous learning is applied in most visionary schooling platforms because it is the most credible way to inculcate this new-age skill in young learners.
This methodology perfectly suits middle and high school students because they enjoy the process of discovery learning and are capable of drawing conclusions in the light of facts.
As a parent, you need to be a facilitator in this process and understand the importance of problem-solving skills in kids. The simplest way to do this is to allow some independent thinking time after the instructional delivery and encourage multiple original ideas by promoting divergent thinking. All this fosters advanced reasoning abilities in students and promotes critical thinking for advanced problem-solving.
Top educators from great-quality accredited online schools make use of these strategies, along with several other eLearning skills , and guide the learners throughout the process of gathering, prioritizing, interpreting, and concluding information.
2. Encourage Brainstorming In A Non-Judgmental Environment
Problem-solving in child development is a game-changer for success later in life. So, try to create the right atmosphere for kids at home to nurture this core competency.
A non-judgmental environment is always free from negative criticism and sarcasm. Allow children to voice opinions freely and make sure there is enough positive reinforcement for all genuine attempts.
Individual brainstorming is the best to craft creative solutions for less complex issues because it allows individuals to break free from regular, conventional ideas while interacting in a more positive environment.
Support your kid for more and more lateral/parallel thinking and appreciate all out-of-box/innovative responses.
3. Strengthen The Components Of Problem-Solving
Another way to foster problem-solving skills in learners is by strengthening the decision-making component of the problem-solving process. Decision-making skills are imperative to solve problems because they help to weigh the advantages and disadvantages before reaching a conclusion.
Encourage kids to make choices between possible alternatives and make this fun by trying out everyday basic choices like food, books, movies, sports, etc. Make sure you allow kids to take charge of these decisions and intervene with your logical and valid inputs. Remember that it is essential to understand the importance of problem-solving skills in kids. So, try to create enough such opportunities for young learners.
These practices will develop habits of analyzing situations from multiple dimensions and eventually, children will learn to research and preempt the repercussions of their individual choices.
4. Use The Best Techniques Of Some Researched Theories
Some great psychological theories can be easily applied in real-life situations. As a parent, you can foster these relevant problem-solving skills in the child by incorporating some components of popular theories.
Let me explain this through some examples:
Use the theory of "psychological distancing"  to disconnect children from their emotions while solving the problem. It will help them see the bigger picture of the issue by viewing it from a wider perspective. This strategy eliminates the chances of biases and selective understanding based on personal preferences and therefore, helps in viewing issues through multiple perspectives.
Another helpful strategy can be the "heuristic framework" , which can help foster advanced thinking abilities by breaking information into smaller and more comprehensive parts. With middle and high schoolers, you can try its component of backward planning effectively. This strategy can be mindfully implemented in any day-to-day situation, like planning for a get-together or estimating monthly expenses for budget planning. Encourage responses in a way that starts from the most distant challenges like month-end crunch/emergency funds, etc., and look for these solutions before planning the immediate requirements.
5. Be A Positive Role Model
As parents, we can also foster problem-solving skills through numerous informal interactions and behaviors. Our own approach toward solving problems largely influences our children's abilities because there is a powerful impact on the family atmosphere and parenting in the critical habit formation stages.
Look for opportunities to involve children in problematic situations and create some hypothetical ones if you do not have real ones. Involve children in discussions that need deep thinking; for example, preparations for extreme weather change or changing some business strategies (like hoarding raw material) to bring down the investments of a family business.
Be a structured and organized problem solver yourself and present your thoughts in the most logical and sequential manner. Support children's efforts throughout and share your input about their dilemmas. The importance of problem-solving skills in kids is evident. So, try to be an ideal role model for kids all the time.
6. Observe, Facilitate, And Share Feedback
Last but not least, be a guide and mentor for your students at all times. Observe them and be ready to intervene as and when it is required. Avoid interrupting and criticizing directly at any point in time because these competencies are best developed in a positive learning environment .
So, make sure you share enough positive feedback and facilitate this process throughout. However, do not give any direct answers to make the task easy for children. Instead, guide them through the pathway that can lead to possible and relevant solutions. Encourage multiple solutions and prejudice-free opinions and allow enough time for kids to derive conclusions. Re-explain the steps of the process (identifying, analyzing, solving, and reviewing, etc.) repeatedly, and motivate children for more and more divergent thinking.
Problem-solving skills are an asset for our kids in all stages of life. So, put your best foot forward and support your child in and out to acquire these 21st-century relevant skillsets for a tremendously successful and happy life ahead!
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Developing Problem-Solving Skills for Kids | Strategies & Tips
We've made teaching problem-solving skills for kids a whole lot easier! Keep reading and comment below with any other tips you have for your classroom!
Problem-Solving Skills for Kids: The Real Deal
Picture this: You've carefully created an assignment for your class. The step-by-step instructions are crystal clear. During class time, you walk through all the directions, and the response is awesome. Your students are ready! It's finally time for them to start working individually and then... 8 hands shoot up with questions. You hear one student mumble in the distance, "Wait, I don't get this" followed by the dreaded, "What are we supposed to be doing again?"
When I was a new computer science teacher, I would have this exact situation happen. As a result, I would end up scrambling to help each individual student with their problems until half the class period was eaten up. I assumed that in order for my students to learn best, I needed to be there to help answer questions immediately so they could move forward and complete the assignment.
Here's what I wish I had known when I started teaching coding to elementary students - the process of grappling with an assignment's content can be more important than completing the assignment's product. That said, not every student knows how to grapple, or struggle, in order to get to the "aha!" moment and solve a problem independently. The good news is, the ability to creatively solve problems is not a fixed skill. It can be learned by students, nurtured by teachers, and practiced by everyone!
Your students are absolutely capable of navigating and solving problems on their own. Here are some strategies, tips, and resources that can help:
Problem-Solving Skills for Kids: Student Strategies
These are strategies your students can use during independent work time to become creative problem solvers.
1. Go Step-By-Step Through The Problem-Solving Sequence
Post problem-solving anchor charts and references on your classroom wall or pin them to your Google Classroom - anything to make them accessible to students. When they ask for help, invite them to reference the charts first.
2. Revisit Past Problems
If a student gets stuck, they should ask themself, "Have I ever seen a problem like this before? If so, how did I solve it?" Chances are, your students have tackled something similar already and can recycle the same strategies they used before to solve the problem this time around.
3. Document What Doesn’t Work
Sometimes finding the answer to a problem requires the process of elimination. Have your students attempt to solve a problem at least two different ways before reaching out to you for help. Even better, encourage them write down their "Not-The-Answers" so you can see their thought process when you do step in to support. Cool thing is, you likely won't need to! By attempting to solve a problem in multiple different ways, students will often come across the answer on their own.
4. "3 Before Me"
Let's say your students have gone through the Problem Solving Process, revisited past problems, and documented what doesn't work. Now, they know it's time to ask someone for help. Great! But before you jump into save the day, practice "3 Before Me". This means students need to ask 3 other classmates their question before asking the teacher. By doing this, students practice helpful 21st century skills like collaboration and communication, and can usually find the info they're looking for on the way.
Problem-Solving Skills for Kids: Teacher Tips
These are tips that you, the teacher, can use to support students in developing creative problem-solving skills for kids.
1. Ask Open Ended Questions
When a student asks for help, it can be tempting to give them the answer they're looking for so you can both move on. But what this actually does is prevent the student from developing the skills needed to solve the problem on their own. Instead of giving answers, try using open-ended questions and prompts. Here are some examples:
2. Encourage Grappling
Grappling is everything a student might do when faced with a problem that does not have a clear solution. As explained in this article from Edutopia , this doesn't just mean perseverance! Grappling is more than that - it includes critical thinking, asking questions, observing evidence, asking more questions, forming hypotheses, and constructing a deep understanding of an issue.
There are lots of ways to provide opportunities for grappling. Anything that includes the Engineering Design Process is a good one! Examples include:
- Engineering or Art Projects
- Design-thinking challenges
- Computer science projects
- Science experiments
3. Emphasize Process Over Product
For elementary students, reflecting on the process of solving a problem helps them develop a growth mindset . Getting an answer "wrong" doesn't need to be a bad thing! What matters most are the steps they took to get there and how they might change their approach next time. As a teacher, you can support students in learning this reflection process.
4. Model The Strategies Yourself!
As creative problem-solving skills for kids are being learned, there will likely be moments where they are frustrated or unsure. Here are some easy ways you can model what creative problem-solving looks and sounds like.
- Ask clarifying questions if you don't understand something
- Admit when don't know the correct answer
- Talk through multiple possible outcomes for different situations
- Verbalize how you’re feeling when you find a problem
Practicing these strategies with your students will help create a learning environment where grappling, failing, and growing is celebrated!
Problem-Solving Skill for Kids
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Teaching Problem-Solving Skills
Many instructors design opportunities for students to solve “problems”. But are their students solving true problems or merely participating in practice exercises? The former stresses critical thinking and decision making skills whereas the latter requires only the application of previously learned procedures.
Problem solving is often broadly defined as "the ability to understand the environment, identify complex problems, review related information to develop, evaluate strategies and implement solutions to build the desired outcome" (Fissore, C. et al, 2021). True problem solving is the process of applying a method – not known in advance – to a problem that is subject to a specific set of conditions and that the problem solver has not seen before, in order to obtain a satisfactory solution.
Below you will find some basic principles for teaching problem solving and one model to implement in your classroom teaching.
Principles for teaching problem solving
- Model a useful problem-solving method . Problem solving can be difficult and sometimes tedious. Show students how to be patient and persistent, and how to follow a structured method, such as Woods’ model described below. Articulate your method as you use it so students see the connections.
- Teach within a specific context . Teach problem-solving skills in the context in which they will be used by students (e.g., mole fraction calculations in a chemistry course). Use real-life problems in explanations, examples, and exams. Do not teach problem solving as an independent, abstract skill.
- Help students understand the problem . In order to solve problems, students need to define the end goal. This step is crucial to successful learning of problem-solving skills. If you succeed at helping students answer the questions “what?” and “why?”, finding the answer to “how?” will be easier.
- Take enough time . When planning a lecture/tutorial, budget enough time for: understanding the problem and defining the goal (both individually and as a class); dealing with questions from you and your students; making, finding, and fixing mistakes; and solving entire problems in a single session.
- Ask questions and make suggestions . Ask students to predict “what would happen if …” or explain why something happened. This will help them to develop analytical and deductive thinking skills. Also, ask questions and make suggestions about strategies to encourage students to reflect on the problem-solving strategies that they use.
- Link errors to misconceptions . Use errors as evidence of misconceptions, not carelessness or random guessing. Make an effort to isolate the misconception and correct it, then teach students to do this by themselves. We can all learn from mistakes.
Woods’ problem-solving model
Define the problem.
- The system . Have students identify the system under study (e.g., a metal bridge subject to certain forces) by interpreting the information provided in the problem statement. Drawing a diagram is a great way to do this.
- Known(s) and concepts . List what is known about the problem, and identify the knowledge needed to understand (and eventually) solve it.
- Unknown(s) . Once you have a list of knowns, identifying the unknown(s) becomes simpler. One unknown is generally the answer to the problem, but there may be other unknowns. Be sure that students understand what they are expected to find.
- Units and symbols . One key aspect in problem solving is teaching students how to select, interpret, and use units and symbols. Emphasize the use of units whenever applicable. Develop a habit of using appropriate units and symbols yourself at all times.
- Constraints . All problems have some stated or implied constraints. Teach students to look for the words "only", "must", "neglect", or "assume" to help identify the constraints.
- Criteria for success . Help students consider, from the beginning, what a logical type of answer would be. What characteristics will it possess? For example, a quantitative problem will require an answer in some form of numerical units (e.g., $/kg product, square cm, etc.) while an optimization problem requires an answer in the form of either a numerical maximum or minimum.
Think about it
- “Let it simmer”. Use this stage to ponder the problem. Ideally, students will develop a mental image of the problem at hand during this stage.
- Identify specific pieces of knowledge . Students need to determine by themselves the required background knowledge from illustrations, examples and problems covered in the course.
- Collect information . Encourage students to collect pertinent information such as conversion factors, constants, and tables needed to solve the problem.
Plan a solution
- Consider possible strategies . Often, the type of solution will be determined by the type of problem. Some common problem-solving strategies are: compute; simplify; use an equation; make a model, diagram, table, or chart; or work backwards.
- Choose the best strategy . Help students to choose the best strategy by reminding them again what they are required to find or calculate.
Carry out the plan
- Be patient . Most problems are not solved quickly or on the first attempt. In other cases, executing the solution may be the easiest step.
- Be persistent . If a plan does not work immediately, do not let students get discouraged. Encourage them to try a different strategy and keep trying.
Encourage students to reflect. Once a solution has been reached, students should ask themselves the following questions:
- Does the answer make sense?
- Does it fit with the criteria established in step 1?
- Did I answer the question(s)?
- What did I learn by doing this?
- Could I have done the problem another way?
If you would like support applying these tips to your own teaching, CTE staff members are here to help. View the CTE Support page to find the most relevant staff member to contact.
- Fissore, C., Marchisio, M., Roman, F., & Sacchet, M. (2021). Development of problem solving skills with Maple in higher education. In: Corless, R.M., Gerhard, J., Kotsireas, I.S. (eds) Maple in Mathematics Education and Research. MC 2020. Communications in Computer and Information Science, vol 1414. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-81698-8_15
- Foshay, R., & Kirkley, J. (1998). Principles for Teaching Problem Solving. TRO Learning Inc., Edina MN. (PDF) Principles for Teaching Problem Solving (researchgate.net)
- Hayes, J.R. (1989). The Complete Problem Solver. 2nd Edition. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
- Woods, D.R., Wright, J.D., Hoffman, T.W., Swartman, R.K., Doig, I.D. (1975). Teaching Problem solving Skills.
- Engineering Education. Vol 1, No. 1. p. 238. Washington, DC: The American Society for Engineering Education.
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A 5-Step Problem-Solving Strategy
Specify the problem – a first step to solving a problem is to identify it as specifically as possible. It involves evaluating the present state and determining how it differs from the goal state.
Analyze the problem – analyzing the problem involves learning as much as you can about it. It may be necessary to look beyond the obvious, surface situation, to stretch your imagination and reach for more creative options.
seek other perspectives
be flexible in your analysis
consider various strands of impact
brainstorm about all possibilities and implications
research problems for which you lack complete information. Get help.
Formulate possible solutions – identify a wide range of possible solutions.
try to think of all possible solutions
consider similar problems and how you have solved them
Evaluate possible solutions – weigh the advantages and disadvantages of each solution. Think through each solution and consider how, when, and where you could accomplish each. Consider both immediate and long-term results. Mapping your solutions can be helpful at this stage.
Choose a solution – consider 3 factors:
compatibility with your priorities
amount of risk
Keys to Problem Solving
Think aloud – problem solving is a cognitive, mental process. Thinking aloud or talking yourself through the steps of problem solving is useful. Hearing yourself think can facilitate the process.
Allow time for ideas to "gel" or consolidate. If time permits, give yourself time for solutions to develop. Distance from a problem can allow you to clear your mind and get a new perspective.
Talk about the problem – describing the problem to someone else and talking about it can often make a problem become more clear and defined so that a new solution will surface.
Decision Making Strategies
Decision making is a process of identifying and evaluating choices. We make numerous decisions every day and our decisions may range from routine, every-day types of decisions to those decisions which will have far reaching impacts. The types of decisions we make are routine, impulsive, and reasoned. Deciding what to eat for breakfast is a routine decision; deciding to do or buy something at the last minute is considered an impulsive decision; and choosing your college major is, hopefully, a reasoned decision. College coursework often requires you to make the latter, or reasoned decisions.
Decision making has much in common with problem solving. In problem solving you identify and evaluate solution paths; in decision making you make a similar discovery and evaluation of alternatives. The crux of decision making, then, is the careful identification and evaluation of alternatives. As you weigh alternatives, use the following suggestions:
Consider the outcome each is likely to produce, in both the short term and the long term.
Compare alternatives based on how easily you can accomplish each.
Evaluate possible negative side effects each may produce.
Consider the risk involved in each.
Be creative, original; don't eliminate alternatives because you have not heard or used them before.
An important part of decision making is to predict both short-term and long-term outcomes for each alternative. You may find that while an alternative seems most desirable at the present, it may pose problems or complications over a longer time period.
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Tips and Techniques
Expert vs. novice problem solvers, communicate.
- Have students identify specific problems, difficulties, or confusions . Don’t waste time working through problems that students already understand.
- If students are unable to articulate their concerns, determine where they are having trouble by asking them to identify the specific concepts or principles associated with the problem.
- In a one-on-one tutoring session, ask the student to work his/her problem out loud . This slows down the thinking process, making it more accurate and allowing you to access understanding.
- When working with larger groups you can ask students to provide a written “two-column solution.” Have students write up their solution to a problem by putting all their calculations in one column and all of their reasoning (in complete sentences) in the other column. This helps them to think critically about their own problem solving and helps you to more easily identify where they may be having problems. Two-Column Solution (Math) Two-Column Solution (Physics)
- Model the problem solving process rather than just giving students the answer. As you work through the problem, consider how a novice might struggle with the concepts and make your thinking clear
- Have students work through problems on their own. Ask directing questions or give helpful suggestions, but provide only minimal assistance and only when needed to overcome obstacles.
- Don’t fear group work ! Students can frequently help each other, and talking about a problem helps them think more critically about the steps needed to solve the problem. Additionally, group work helps students realize that problems often have multiple solution strategies, some that might be more effective than others
- Frequently, when working problems, students are unsure of themselves. This lack of confidence may hamper their learning. It is important to recognize this when students come to us for help, and to give each student some feeling of mastery. Do this by providing positive reinforcement to let students know when they have mastered a new concept or skill.
Encourage Thoroughness and Patience
- Try to communicate that the process is more important than the answer so that the student learns that it is OK to not have an instant solution. This is learned through your acceptance of his/her pace of doing things, through your refusal to let anxiety pressure you into giving the right answer, and through your example of problem solving through a step-by step process.
Experts (teachers) in a particular field are often so fluent in solving problems from that field that they can find it difficult to articulate the problem solving principles and strategies they use to novices (students) in their field because these principles and strategies are second nature to the expert. To teach students problem solving skills, a teacher should be aware of principles and strategies of good problem solving in his or her discipline .
The mathematician George Polya captured the problem solving principles and strategies he used in his discipline in the book How to Solve It: A New Aspect of Mathematical Method (Princeton University Press, 1957). The book includes a summary of Polya’s problem solving heuristic as well as advice on the teaching of problem solving.
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Home » Blog » General » Developing Decision-Making Skills in Elementary Students: A Comprehensive Guide
Developing Decision-Making Skills in Elementary Students: A Comprehensive Guide
Teaching decision-making skills to elementary students is a crucial aspect of their social and emotional development. These skills empower students to make informed choices, solve problems, and navigate through various situations effectively. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the importance of decision-making skills in elementary students and provide strategies and resources to help educators and parents foster these skills.
I. Understanding Decision-Making Skills
Before we delve into teaching decision-making skills, it is essential to understand what they entail. Decision-making skills refer to the ability to gather information, analyze options, consider consequences, and make choices based on critical thinking and personal values. These skills encompass several components, including:
- Analytical thinking
- Consideration of consequences
Developing decision-making skills in elementary students offers numerous benefits. It equips them with the tools to make sound choices, enhances their problem-solving abilities, and fosters independence and autonomy. Additionally, decision-making skills promote self-confidence and resilience, enabling students to navigate challenges and setbacks effectively.
II. Teaching Decision-Making Skills in Elementary Students
Creating a supportive classroom environment is crucial for teaching decision-making skills effectively. By fostering open communication and active listening, educators can create a safe space for students to express their thoughts, concerns, and ideas. Encouraging collaboration and teamwork also helps students develop their decision-making skills by learning from and working with their peers.
Introducing decision-making concepts in a structured manner is essential for elementary students. Breaking down decisions into smaller steps helps students understand the process and makes decision-making less overwhelming. Exploring different options and consequences allows students to consider various perspectives and outcomes, enhancing their critical thinking abilities.
Providing opportunities for decision-making practice is vital for students to apply their skills in real-life situations. Role-playing scenarios and problem-solving activities allow students to practice decision-making in a controlled environment. Incorporating real-life situations into lessons helps students connect decision-making skills to their everyday lives.
III. Strategies for Developing Decision-Making Skills
Developing critical thinking skills is a fundamental aspect of decision-making. Encouraging students to analyze and evaluate information helps them make informed choices. Promoting logical reasoning and problem-solving skills enables students to approach decision-making systematically and effectively.
Enhancing self-awareness and self-reflection is another essential strategy for developing decision-making skills. Helping students identify their values and beliefs allows them to make choices aligned with their personal principles. Reflecting on past decisions and their outcomes helps students learn from their experiences and make better choices in the future.
Building resilience and coping skills is crucial for decision-making. Teaching students to manage setbacks and failures helps them develop the resilience to bounce back from challenges. Promoting a positive mindset and adaptability enables students to approach decision-making with confidence and flexibility.
IV. Assessing and Monitoring Decision-Making Skills
Assessing and monitoring decision-making skills is essential to track students’ progress and provide targeted support. Utilizing observation and reflection allows educators to observe students’ decision-making processes and provide constructive feedback and guidance. This feedback helps students understand their strengths and areas for improvement.
Implementing self-assessment tools, such as checklists or rubrics, allows students to evaluate their decision-making skills independently. Encouraging students to reflect on their own decision-making abilities promotes self-awareness and metacognition. This self-assessment process helps students take ownership of their learning and growth.
V. Collaborating with Parents and Guardians
Collaborating with parents and guardians is crucial for reinforcing decision-making skills outside of the classroom. Involving parents in decision-making skill development allows for a consistent approach between home and school. Sharing strategies and resources with parents empowers them to support their children’s decision-making skills effectively.
Encouraging open communication between home and school is vital for fostering decision-making skills. Regular communication allows parents and educators to exchange information, discuss challenges, and celebrate successes. This collaboration creates a supportive network that benefits students’ overall development.
Providing support and guidance to parents is essential for helping them navigate the challenges of developing decision-making skills at home. Addressing common concerns and challenges helps parents feel more confident in supporting their children’s growth. Offering suggestions for fostering decision-making skills at home empowers parents to create an environment that nurtures these skills.
Developing decision-making skills in elementary students is a critical aspect of their social and emotional development. By teaching these skills, educators and parents empower students to make informed choices, solve problems, and navigate through various situations effectively. By creating a supportive classroom environment, introducing decision-making concepts, providing opportunities for practice, and implementing strategies for development, we can help students develop these essential skills.
Are you ready to start fostering decision-making skills in your elementary students? Start your EverydaySpeech Free trial today and gain access to a wide range of resources and activities designed to develop social and emotional skills in students.
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For students & teachers, teaching responsible decision making skills.
Strategies for Your Classroom
Given the amount of decisions one is asked to make throughout their lifetime and the potential gravity of the repercussions, it’s our duty to teach responsible decision making skills to our students.
How often do we engage our decision making skills?
If you’re ever wondering just how many decisions you make in a day, neuroscientists predict it’s a mind-blowing 35,000! I’ve been awake a mere 30 minutes and have already pondered the consequences of hitting the snooze button (again), hot tea vs. hot cider (cider won), if I deserved a break to scroll Instagram (after only 5 minutes of writing), what to wear (princess dress), when to work out (which ultimately led to my decision on when to shower), if I deserved another break to browse Pottery Barn’s bedding sale (I didn’t. Luckily, the sale runs until midnight) and currently I am trying to decide what to eat for breakfast as my tummy rumblings compete with the sound of my fingers tapping the keyboard. When I look at all the decisions listed above and the really minor ones I didn’t list, like petting my dog and opening the blinds, I can see how we reach the staggering statistic above.
Be that teacher, the one with the lasting impact
Set up your EVERFI account to help empower your students to navigate healthy decisions in a modern digital world.
Someone once told me that life is just a series of decisions, one right after another, each determining the life that we lead. Sometimes the decisions are small and inconsequential, like my morning selections. However, sometimes the decisions are big. They have the power to shape us, such as which college to attend, and the degree to pursue, whom to marry or where to settle down. And the ripple effect that follows can feel like you’re riding a tidal wave. Regardless-big or small, every day these choices are written into our story.
How to develop decision making skills in students
It’s one thing to know the importance of teaching decision making skills in the classroom, and it’s another to actually put it into practice. Here are some ways to help your students become thoughtful, engaged, and productive decision makers.
- Identify the problem/conflict to be solved.
- Gather relevant information.
- Brainstorm possible solutions.
- Identify potential consequences.
- Make a choice.
- Take action!
- Encourage listening skills as it relates to being open minded to other opinions. Let your students share their views on current events or relevant topics such as the impact of social media on our well-being. Many of the decisions we make are based on personal bias. In order to arrive at a fully educated decision, we have to be open to hearing and exploring all sides before cementing what our position is. Here’s a great lesson for getting students talking and thinking critically about the decisions they make regarding social media, great for students old enough to have access to social media.
- Avoid rescuing. Decision-making grows stronger each time students have to navigate a tricky situation on their own –making a poor decision, facing the natural consequences and then reliving a similar situation, with new choices and lessons gathered from the first unsuccessful experience is possibly the most lasting way to learn this skill.
- Promote mindfulness. A rushed decision is rarely a good one. Teachers and parents won’t always be around to remind kids to slow down and think. Giving them a foundation of mindful thinking will set them up for success when they need to filter out the noise, reflect on the situation at hand and make the wisest choice. Here’s a lesson plan and activity guide to lay a foundation of mindfulness with your younger students.
- Make it fun! One of the ways I incorporate decision making skills into my therapy sessions is playing a few rounds of “Would You Rather?”. Use one of the class brain breaks to ask your students if they’d rather forgo their iPad for a month or forgo junk food? Explore the ocean or outer space? Always have to tell the truth or always have to lie? Raise a monkey or an elephant? Get creative. Allow the class to share their answers and give reasoning for why they picked a certain one. Point out the potential consequences and see if that changes their response.
Why teaching responsible decision making is important
Learning decision making skills to make their own choices helps children be more independent, responsible, and confident. It gives them a sense of control over their lives, reducing anxiety and promoting resilience. Furthermore, it encourages self-exploration and helps them to solidify their values. As educators, you have the power to make those 35,000 decisions easier for them to navigate and conquer. And remember, it’s okay to let them make a few bad decisions. That’s how they gain experience to make better ones. (Like choosing tea over cider for breakfast—the sugar crash was NOT worth it).
Set up your EVERFI account to help empower your students to navigate healthy decisions in a modern world.
Responsible Decision Making Skills FAQs
What do responsible decision making skills teach.
Responsible decision making skills are emphasized throughout several EVERFI lessons spanning elementary, middle and high school grade levels, including: The Compassion Project – students learn responsible decision making around emotions and mindfulness – that emotions are within our control and can be channeled for good ; Ignition – students learn responsible decision making in the digital world exploring topics such as online privacy, digital footprint, cyberbullying, and how to use social media responsibly; Prescription Drug Safety – students learn responsible decision making related to prescription drug use, including misuse and abuse; Understanding Mental Wellness – students learn responsible decision making skills related to mental health and wellness such as stress management and healthy coping skills.
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