This month, Third graders learned about making decisions through a simple model known as "Stop-Think-Go", taken from the Botvin Life Skills Training program. Decision-making is a behavior, and like any other behavior, it can become a habit when practiced often.
Using a traffic signal analogy, this simple model has three steps. In the stop phase, the students learn to define the problem - my best friend's birthday party is the same morning as my soccer game. During the think phase, the children determine the possible outcomes of each of the choices and discuss potential consequences, and in the go phase, they follow through with the decision they made. After watching a brief clip from Toy Story 3, the students were able to apply the 3 steps when Andy was trying to decide if he should give Woody to Bonnie.
To further clarify this model and share their different decision-making experiences, the children created flap books and shared some of their decisions with the rest of the class. It was interesting to hear about their decisions which ranged from what they want to be when they grow up to choosing between going to Six Flags and playing in a soccer game.
This lesson followed the following ASCA standards:
C:A1.5 Learn to make decisions
PS:B1.1 Use a decision-making and problem-solving model
PS:B1.2 Understand consequences of decisions and choices
Fourth graders also reviewed the Stop-Think-Go decision-making model that they learned in third grade but added one more component - evaluation. It is in the evaluation process that we learn whether the decision that we made was a good one or a bad one.
We also discussed peer pressure and the importance of making good decisions and displaying assertive behavior. The students then divided into groups to help "Dear Abby" writers make good decisions. Each group was given a "Dear Abby" letter and asked to consider the choices available, weigh the pros and cons, and then make a decision.
Academic: Standard A: Students will acquire the attitudes, knowledge, and skills that contribute to effective learning in school and across the life span.
GC:AD-A2.4 Apply knowledge and learning styles to positively influence school performance
Career: Standard A: Students will acquire the skills to investigate the world of work in relation to knowledge of self and to make informed career decisions
GC:CD-A1.5 Learn to make decisions
In Fifth grade guidance, our students learned the importance of critical thinking especially when peer pressure is involved. The students worked individually and then in groups to answer questions about a robbery. They were to use their critical thinking skills to determine whether statements about "The Story" were true, false or did not contain enough information to determine whether they were true or false.
The students ended up changing some of their answers when working in the group. After a discussion on positive ande negative peer pressure, the students were able to able to connect the decision making process with good critical thinking skills and the importance of learning to be assertive.
They divided into groups and performed role plays to demostrate how various peer pressure situations could be assertively addressed.
Children can often make poor choices without thinking about the consequences. Parents can help their children practice how to make smart choices and improve their decision-making skills. Give your child options and use the "Stop-Think-Go" model to help them navigate toward an appropriate decision.
The more children practice making decisions, the more likely the process of making those decisions will become ingrained in them.