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Opportunities to Practice
Students in grades K-4 will build reading comprehension skills when they are actively involved in the learning process. Using these concepts will allow them the opportunity to understand problem and resolution; a skill they will need in higher grades. All of the communication skills of reading, writing, speaking and listening are covered.
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Five Ways to Teach It
1) Define the Terms Problem and Solution:
- Before reading, define the terms "problem" and "solution". Give students an example of a problem that happened in class. Situations on problem and solution present themselves daily in an elementary classroom. If you have none recent to use, tell about one from your life. Explain and define the problem. Once you get to the place in the story where the problem has been resolved, explain that this is a solution. It is important to introduce and use the proper vocabulary terms even for younger students. Be sure to include problem and solution discussions into other areas of the curriculum. For example, discuss problem and solution when teaching about pollution, war, bullying, and endangered animals.
2) During the Read Aloud:
- During a read aloud, stop reading where the problem happens in the story. Ask the students to brainstorm what the problem is. Ask the students to give supportive details (proof); how did they know? When the problem has been identified, have the class give a thumbs-down. Practice the same for the solution. When the problem is solved, brainstorm how the problem was resolved. Again, ask the students to give supportive details (proof); how did they know? Have the students give a thumbs-up when the problem is resolved.
3) During Independent Reading:
- For independent practice, give students Post-Its to stick to the page or pages where the problem takes place and again when it is resolved; even younger students can do this in picture books, using the pictures as a guide. Have them take turns speaking to a reading partner about the supporting details on the problem and solution in their books.
3) Use a Graphic Organizer:
- On chart paper, create a graphic organizer. In the left column, title it, Problem and on the other side (the right), title it, Solution. Write (or draw for young students) the place in the story where the problem happened under problem and again where the problem was resolved on the right.
- Download a T-chart graphic organizer on the Bright Hub Media Gallery titled, T-Chart for Problem and Solution With Lines (for older grades) or the T-Chart for Problem and Solution Without Lines (for younger grades). Either of these graphic organizers can be enlarged on a poster maker and laminated to use year after year.
- Older students can use the organizer with lines to provide proof from the story about what the problem is and how it was resolved during independent practice. Younger students can use the one without lines to draw pictures.
4) Act It Out:
- Choose a story to role play with props in the classroom. Have the students who do not join in the role play help by giving a thumbs-down for the problem and a thumbs-up when the problem is resolved. Even older students enjoy role play. In small groups, have them make up a skit to present to the class to show their reading comprehension on problem and solution.
5) Application- Create a Classroom Project or Essay:
- Create a project on a problem and solution students can relate to and correct in the classroom. Is morning routine disruptive? Are pencils not sharpened when they are needed? Are there problems on the playground?
- Split the class into groups. Give the students the graphic organizer on problem and solution. Students meet to discuss a classroom problem. They write the problem down with supporting proof (facts) and present it to the teacher for approval.
- They outline a plan to solve the problem listing facts about how it should be resolved.
- Schedule times for students to present their findings.
- If possible, implement the solution to the problem in the classroom.
- Last, older students should write an essay about the problem with supporting proof (facts), the solution and implementation plan. For younger students, this can be done as a whole group project where students vote on the problem they want solved and the teacher writes or illustrates the problem and solution.
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Students are sure to enjoy these activities, while the teacher has found a way to use the literacy standards in a fun way. Repeat them whenever possible and give frequent feedback.
Activites here are provided from many years of classroom experience in the primary grades.
Problem and Solution Pattern, http://www.roch.edu/people/lhalverson/Problem_Solution.htm
Reading Activities for Problem and Solution with Graphic Organizers
This series on problem and solution in reading includes a collection of picture book titles for K-4 on problem and solution, reading comprehension activities and graphic organizers.