Problem Solving 101

This week we started reading Problem Solving 101 by Ken Watanabe with illustrations by Alan Sanders. The book begins by introducing characters that struggle with problem-solving due to their approach. As we described the characters, we took notice of the times when we felt like could identify with the characters.

Miss Sigh is easily overwhelmed by challenges and often gives up before really trying assuming she will never succeed and everyone will think she is a failure.

Mr. Critic is quick to point out the flaws in other people’s ideas but fails to offer any constructive ideas of his own.

Miss Dreamer has grand ideas but never makes a plan and never follows through so her dreams stay dreams.

Mr. Go-Getter believes that all problems can be solved by just working harder without considering root causes of problems or how well his current strategy is working and whether or not an alternative approach would be more beneficial.

Providing ways for students to name self-defeating approaches or tendencies is a valuable way for students to distance themselves from these negative characteristics and see them not as inherent qualities but habits of the mind that can be changed.

Next week, we will read more about what separates these characters from problem solvers.

As we continue the book, we will learn specific tools for problem-solving including logic trees, yes/no trees and hypothesis pyramids. When students have specific tools they can use to approach familiar and unfamiliar problems, they are able to think more clearly in the face of a challenge and are able to build confidence in their ability to creatively solve problems.



OOEL Footsteps . Stories and Games


This week we continued our work with the Out of Eden Project where many students began thinking about journeys they would like to take that would help them to learn more about themselves and places that interest them. Some have chosen to research places that reflect their ethnic backgrounds while others are choosing places they have always wanted to go. Students will share maps, itineraries and reflections about these places and what interests them.

Others are choosing to dig deeper into Paul Salopek’s current location and make suggestions for places he might visit. After these are submitted, the students have the opportunity to have their suggested destinations incorporated into Paul’s journey.

Stories and Games

We also welcomed a new student, Asher, to our classroom. Passionate about writing and storytelling, Asher shared the first chapter of a story he wrote with the class. As the chapter finished, the class hurried to check out his other works from the classroom library.

Niccolo, one of our resident game designers, also shared a demo of a game he created during a previous elective.