Students who act out in aggressive behaviors often do so because they struggle with identifying solutions to their problems. A Problem-Solving Wheel can help teach your students to learn how to independently solve a problem.
A problem-solving wheel also known as the wheel of choice or solution wheel is a great way to give students a visual of choices to help them either calm down when they are upset or to help them solve a problem with a classmate.
It is best to use the problem-solving wheel when students are dealing with a “small” problem. “Small” problems include conflicts that cause “small” feelings of annoyance, embarrassment, boredom, etc. If the student has a BIG problem they should practice telling an adult. “BIG problems” are situations that are scary, dangerous, illegal, etc.
Examples of Small Problems
- A classmate broke your pencil
- Someone cut in front of them in line
- A classmate is using the color crayon they want to use
- A friend keeps kicking their chair
Children don’t always know what to do when they are experiencing conflicts with others. When students are stressed and in the moment of a conflict they can often forget how to solve the problem A problem-solving choice wheel can help them learn different ways to solve their problems. I’ve created a few free printable problem-solving choice wheels for you to choose from. Simply download and start using in your classroom today!
Problem Solving Wheel Freebie
Comes in 4 different versions:
- Ready-Made: “What can I do?” choice wheel is ready to use right away. Simply download, print and start using this freebie!
- Blank with Pictures: Have your students add their own words to the pictures.
- Blank: Have your students draw their own pictures and write a short description.
- Editable Version: Using the free version of Adobe Acrobat Reader edit all the blue boxes with your own words.
When you create a consistent pattern of how to solve problems students will eventually pick up on that pattern and begin to implement the pattern independently.
Involve Children in Finding the Solution.
Involving children in the problem-solving process can help give them buy-in into using the system that they take part in creating. Use the blank version or the editable version and have your students create their own ideas for how to solve “small” problems on their own. Your students might even surprise you and come up with some creative solutions.
Teach Feeling Words
In addition, for some of our students teaching feeling words can help them have the vocabulary necessary to express how they are feeling during a problem. We can start by naming students’ feelings for them and after some practice hopefully, the students will begin to use feeling words to describe how they are feeling during a conflict. For example, “Sam the way you yelled, “no” and stomped your feet tell me that you are angry.” Talking to our students this way can help bring their attention to their feelings so they can eventually identify their own feelings.
Help your students resolve a social conflict on their own with this – PROBLEM-SOLVING WHEEL.
Where to Begin
- Start by posting the PROBLEM-SOLVING WHEEL in a good spot in your classroom or office.
- Start slowly and use 1-2 solutions and build up to using all 6 solutions.
- Practice, practice, practice!
- Start slowly: practice using 1-2 choices at a time and slowly build up to using all six. Be clear about what each choice looks like in practice.
- Practice is critical: Even after introducing the Problem-Solving Wheel students will still depend on you to help them resolve their conflicts. Continue to modal and have your students practice.
Books on Problem Solving
For Younger Children: Recommended Ages 2-6
- The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear
- To the Sea
- Duncan the Story Dragon
- The Whale in my Swimming Pool
For Older Children: Recommended Ages 8-12
Aggressive behaviors are often exhibited when a student struggles with identifying solutions to their problems. A problem-solving wheel can be a great way to give students a visual of choices to help them calm down and to solve a problem with a classmate or friend.
Grab your freebie printable today and get started helping your students independently solving their own problems!
Want More Problem Solving?
Be sure to check out my other problem-solving freebies:
Get More Problem Solving Time Saving Materials
Next, be sure to check out the following time-saving materials to continue to teach your students how to solve their social problems in addition to this freebie.
Problem Size & Reaction Size
- Problem size and reaction size. Teach your students to identify the size of a problem and to match the size of the problem with their reaction size.
Weekly Social Pragmatics Homework
- Weekly problem-solving. Send home a weekly homework page that includes a problem-solving scenario plus an idiom and a conversational practice scenario.
Restorative Justice Problem Solving Flip Book
- Restorative justice graphic visual. Use this graphic visual to help your student restore a social relationship after a social problem.