As I work in 1st grade, something that continues to be an issue for students is understanding the Size of a Problem. We all know them… kids who react to small problems in big ways. My class has a few of these friends and really, all kids can benefit from some discrete teaching around this topic.
Michelle Garcia Winner is the expert on social thinking and there are many premade resources available. I was also lucky enough to visit Kristine Mraz‘s classrooms a few times and see how she has done this work in kindergarten. Kristi, with all her wisdom, which she generously shares in numerous books, has been a bit of a muse to me. As I work with students, I find myself constantly asking myself, “What would Kristi do?” But I digress…
As I thought about making this chart, I stopped. ‘I’m not making it’ I thought. The kids will make it. If I want my students to really own this thinking and work, they need to own it. So I sat them down and told them about my idea. I even showed them a picture of the poster in Kristine’s room I’d snapped on my phone. “We can make our own!”
And we did. After explaining the three sizes of problems (glitch, bummer, disaster) – they each picked a problem size to split into three groups and got to work. I walked around coaching into each group and within about twenty minutes, we gathered back on the carpet to assemble our chart.
I’m immensely proud of their work. Mainly because it’s their work.
At the end of the day, outside for an extra recess, one of my friends who tends to get very upset very easily, came over crying. This is quite typical of him. But something different happened… before he started to tell me about what happened, he said, “It’s a glitch… maybe a bummer, I can fix it.” And with that, he walked away and fixed his own problem.