How to Use Picture Books to Help Kids with Problem Solving
Marne Rossard, a parent of three students, claims the culture at her son’s elementary school is one of “disbelief” and “maybe denial.”
Her daughter was called by a counselor in 2015, when she was in kindergarten, when a teacher noticed her staring at a printer. The student denied looking at anything, but the teacher noticed the printout on the computer was different. The substitute suggested the student had written it and reread it as soon as she finished it. She then attempted to print it out on the computer.
Every time that children draw the wild eyes in the students’ handwriting they must erase the red circle at the bottom, claiming it’s simply “something weird.” So after the child drew it, the teacher, who drew the red circle before she repositioned it, erased it from the paper.
We asked her to complete some wording puzzles, just so she could see how students were interacting with problem-solving concepts, and the first puzzle was done without assistance. The difficulty is in the setup. Begin by looking at the picture, and then start approaching the story story. To complete the puzzle, you have to remember the letter and then imagine the noun. This will lead you to the descriptive line, which can also be found in the picture.
The second puzzle is one I know Marne failed at because it requires you to follow all of the directions in the original piece, in a sequential fashion.
The twist with the “End” puzzle is that it solves a mystery from before the game is even started, to solve the first puzzle. To solve it, all you have to do is reread the full sentence from the previous puzzle, and try to envision it as the solution. The final puzzle has the phrase “Cross out three letters,” from a small dot in the initial sentence. Read the sentence, and then cross out all three letters. Try to figure out the first letter you’re missing.
As you finish the puzzle, you’ll notice that there are lots of unused spaces in the original question. Read that sentence again and try to re-examine the first “Wonder Woman” movie to answer the question.
To complete the puzzle, simply reverse the order and “Farewell” at the beginning of the sentence, instead of “In” at the end. The answer, though, is not what you think.
Other parents, like former lawyer and school volunteer Candi Rossman, had early literacy troubles in her son’s elementary school because the teachers and administrators didn’t give her any clear direction in basic problem-solving techniques.
Instead, the solution to all her son’s reading problems was to just draw pictures of his teacher’s head at the beginning of his vocabulary work, and at the end of the sentences, drawing it as if it was his head.
When she arrived in her son’s kindergarten class, he answered the question about how he felt about Christmas trees by drawing his teacher and commenting that he enjoyed the trees because they had a lot of food on them.
When asked about his favorite color, the child drew white and had green inking all over it. When the teacher put white around it, he painted green around it, and he drew pink all over the floor to make it look like a Christmas tree. He also drew pages and pages of color all over the wall, and his mother felt that the teacher must be pricked all the time.
To learn how you can use image books to help your kids with basic strategies for problem solving, check out our article, Cracking Math.
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