At the age of six or seven, first graders enter a crucial cognitive and social development phase. They are becoming more independent and self-directed and eager to explore the world and learn new skills. Decision-making and problem-solving are two of the most important skills they need to develop at this stage. Fortunately, schools can cultivate these skills by teaching this evidence-based SEL lesson.
The first step in this learning journey is defining the key terms and concepts. In a typical classroom, the teacher writes the word "Decision" and its definition on the board and asks the students to recite it several times. Then, the class moves on to the main SEL activity of the day: a story about two curious mice, Maurice and Marrott, who face a problem and find a solution by making wise decisions.
"Overall, this lesson on decision-making and problem-solving is essential for first graders. By teaching them the basic principles of these skills and providing them with examples and guidance, teachers can help them become more self-reliant and confident in their ability to make good choices."
In the story, Maurice and Marrott yearn to learn to read as humans do. They sneak into the reading room, hoping to unravel the secrets to this skill. As they quietly observe Davey and Mary, who are immersed in a book, Maurice’s keen eyes catch something noteworthy. Suddenly, Davey moves the lamp closer to them. At that moment, it is like a light bulb goes on in Maurice's head. This could be a way to get closer to the book!
Thrilled by this discovery, Maurice shares his idea with Marrott. He thanks Marrott for being a good friend who helps him make good decisions and promises to teach Marrott everything he learns from the experience.
After the story, the teacher presents examples of problems to grade 1 students and discusses solutions with them. The teacher walks the young learners through the Happy Thoughts-Actions-Feelings Circle of making wise decisions to solve problems. This process involves thinking positively about the problem, taking positive actions to solve it, and feeling good about oneself as a result.
Overall, this lesson on decision-making and problem-solving is essential for first graders. By teaching them the basic principles of these skills and providing them with examples and guidance, teachers can help them become more self-reliant and confident in their ability to make good choices.