My friend, Kylie, wrote a blog post for me about the Size of the Problem. Aimed to help middle school boys with coping skills and understanding the cause and effect relationship of behaviors and reactions, this is a really helpful lesson for ALL students. I hope you check out her TpT store too, The Creative Social Worker.
Hi! My name is Kylie (The Creative Social Worker), and I am currently a school social worker for early childhood – 8th grade. I have also worked in a treatment center for addiction, clients 18+, and work at a craft store on the side. Needless to say, working with such a wide range of students, and being the only social worker in the district, definitely keeps me on my toes! Those two things are also what is driving this post today:
Struggling to keep the interest of some of my 7th and 8th grade boys, I knew I had to pull out some creativity and make something that not only would benefit them but also increase their engagement. The first activity I created was directed to address the topic of “Size of the Problem.” But what it turned out to be, was so much more than that.
For this activity, I made a symbolic mountain for a visual, and placed 4 open spaces to sort cards: problem sizes of no problem, little problem, medium problem, and big problem. I also made a key card, that includes the different sizes of the problem and reaction for reference. I ended up making 48 prompt cards, which include realistic situations (some we have discussed already), for them to relate too.
The “more” part? My students are not only using their identification skills of the different categories, but because of the prompts, they are using perspective-taking skills, using empathy, and there are opportunities to discuss coping skills! And, in addition to the sorting activity, I also created an add-on for this activity inspired by “20 Questions.” To further challenge students with a great understanding of the different sizes of problems/reactions, one player must first pick a card. Then, the rest of the group can ask 10 questions to try to figure out the size of the problem. For example, is it something you can’t solve without an adult? Or, would you be crying? Students are also given a tip card with examples of types of questions they can ask.
The next activity I created was kind of a spin off of some of my most favorite lessons on Teachers Pay Teachers. I don’t think it comes as any surprise that turning some of the most popular board games like JengaⓇ into a counseling game is usually a winner for upper elementary and middle school. Or, for elementary school, turning Bingo into a counseling game. I’ve used some of the question sheets on Teachers Pay Teachers, some of the specialized Bingo games, and have made a few myself. But I wanted to be able to use these games more often and longer, and in a really easy way. So, I made question sheets with Bingo in mind. I have started out with 3 topics: icebreakers, self-esteem, and size of the problem (again for my 7th & 8th grade boys!). My favorite part? Each question sheet contains a whopping 75 different questions! With that much information, it makes these sheets pretty much universal with every game, and personally the least amount of prep for me (considering traveling between two buildings). I not only reuse JengaⓇ and switch out the topics, but reuse Bingo cards, as each question goes with a number.
Both of these activities have turned out to be a huge success for me and my students. I hope you enjoyed reading about them! If you would like to read more, or check out similar resources, you can find them here:
Size of the Problem Sort & Discuss +20 Questions Inspired Add-OnGrowing Counseling Game Prompts Bundle 6th-8th