Ideas & Innovations

DISD Curriculum & Instruction Dept Oct 2017

Problem Solvers

This month's focus is on promoting problem solving & perseverance. As educators we know the transfer of our content into real world application is vital, and the ability of our students to solve problems and persevere is important for every learning experience. Recently, we saw examples of this within our own communities during and after Hurricane Harvey. Everyday citizens stepped up to assist first-responders as we saw neighbors in need. Adults finding solutions and stepping up to fill needs. Isn't this the ultimate goal for our students in the classroom, too...Students devising solutions & responses, identifying and focusing on needs, and working together for the benefit of the whole?

The C&I Department hopes this issue of Ideas & Innovations provides resources and suggestions that are easy for you to implement and embed in your classroom routine.

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4 Tips on Teaching Problem Solving (from a Student)


Education is one of the most important things in the world, but at most schools, students are told to memorize facts, formulas, and functions without any applicability to the real challenges we will face later. Instead, give us challenges; give us problems that focus on real-world scenarios; give us a chance to understand the world we’re entering and to be prepared for it before we’re thrown in headfirst.

At Two Rivers Public Charter School, they taught us how to problem solve, and they made it relevant. Here are four tips that engaged me in my learning that you can adapt in your classroom:


  • GIVE YOUR STUDENTS HARD PROBLEMS
  • MAKE PROBLEM-SOLVING RELEVANT TO YOUR STUDENTS' LIVES
  • TEACH YOUR STUDENTS HOW TO GRAPPLE (ITS MORE POWERFUL THAN PERSEVERANCE)
  • PUT MORE IMPORTANCE ON STUDENT UNDERSTANDING THAN ON GETTING THE RIGHT ANSWER


excerpted from https://www.edutopia.org/blog/4-tips-teaching-problem-solving-from-student-anna-pelletiere.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lLOALyWls2k

Train Your Students' Brain

Just like other muscles, our brains need exercise and workouts to improve performance. Some students may feel frustrated when faced with difficult & challenging problems to solve. It is important to support students in learning to understand how their brain works and how to "train their brain" so that they approach problem solving with grit, perseverance, can really grapple with tough circumstances, and still come out successful.
Lesson Plan Suggestions for "Training Your Brain"

from The Growth Mindset Coach: A Teacher's Month-by-Month Handbook for Empowering Students to Achieve, by Annie Brock and Heather Hundley

T-Tess Connections

Some areas where PROBLEM SOLVING are reflected in the T-Tess rubric:


Planning Dimension 1:4 Activities


  • Proficient - Questions that encourage all students to engage in complex, higher-order thinking.
  • Accomplished - Questions that encourage all students to engage in complex, higher-order thinking and problem solving.
  • Distinguished - Opportunities for all students to generate questions that lead to further inquiry and promote complex, higher-order thinking, problem solving and real world application.


Instruction Dimension 2.2 Content Knowledge and Expertise


  • Proficient - Provides opportunities for students to use different types of thinking (e.g., analytical, practical, creative & research-based).
  • Accomplished - Regularly provides opportunities for students to use different types of thinking (e.g., analytical, practical, creative & research-based).
  • Distinguished - Consistently provides opportunities for students to use different types of thinking (e.g., analytical, practical, creative & research-based).



Instruction Dimension 2.3 Communication


  • Proficient - Asks remember, understand and apply level questions that focus on the objective of the lesson and provoke discussion.
  • Accomplished - Asks questions at the creative, evaluative and/or analysis levels that focus on the objective of the lesson and provoke thought and discussion.
  • Distinguished - Asks questions at the creative, evaluative and/or analysis levels that require a deeper learning and broader understanding of the objective of the lesson.

WE'D LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU!

What do you do in your classroom to support PROBLEM SOLVING?


Thanks for setting high academic expectations for your students. Let me know what the C&I Department and I can do to support you and your professional growth.