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Size of the Problem Lesson and Activities


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This resource teaches students about problem sizes so they be better problem solvers! We use a weather analogy and talk about the size of problems in these categories:

• Wind (No biggy, tiny problems!)

• Rain (Small problems students can solve themselves!)

• Thunderstorm (Medium problems kids need adult help for)

• Tornado (Big, serious problems that need an adult’s help quickly)

This lesson is also a great opportunity to introduce your self-referral for school counseling, and both forms and directions are included if you wish to use it in this way.

This resource includes:

• 24 Problem Example Cards

• Slideshow to teach the problem slides and have whole group practice

• Weather Problem Poster

• Written lesson plan with ASCA mindsets & behaviors and CASEL competencies

• Exit Ticket

• Weather-themed self-referral slips

ASCA Mindsets and Behaviors

  • Demonstrate critical thinking skills to make informed decisions
  • Demonstrate effective coping skills when faced with a problem

CASEL (Social Emotional Learning) Competencies

  • Responsible Decision-Making
  • Self-Management

Resource Rationale

Without being taught directly about problems having different sizes and severity levels, many students will equate all of their problems as being equally gigantic. This lesson serves two functions: 1) it teaches students how to differentiate between small and large problems which is the first step to coping with problems and 2) it provides an easy conceptual language for students to understand how to self-refer for larger problems.

How to Use This Resource

This is often one of the first lessons I do at the start of the year. It sets us up for future conversations about problem solving, conflict resolution, and coping skills. It’s also easy to implement with small groups focusing on those topics as well.


✨Glowing Praise for This Resource✨

“My class really connected to the weather comparisons for size of the problem. […] We completed this lesson weeks ago, but my students still describe their problems to me in terms of weather! Would recommend!” ~Meghan H.

“I LOVE this! This resource is so helpful to explain different types of problems and helps students understand which problems they might need support with and what problems they can try to solve on their own. Thank you!” ~Rayan G.


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What others are saying...

“Introducing myself to new students was easy with this resource. The graphics are super cute and easy to follow. It was a great way to establish a way to talk to their school counselor and help them learn about their problems and their problems solving abilities.”

“My students were very engaged in this lesson. They got the objective and could relate to the scenarios that you had. It was easy to use and ready to go. I like that you just print, laminate and it ready to go.”

“This was perfect for my 3-4 students. They were engaged and really got a better understanding of the concept. Also created a display outside my office for self referral with these materials. Thanks for making this.”