Learning and Sharing

Revisiting and Revising “What is the Size of your Problem?”

on January 16, 2013

3d human with a red question markOur frequent verbal prompts just become part of the unwanted noise that students tune out.  Visual prompts get better attention and retention.

We have used the “What size is your problem?’ chart ( during our coaching experiences to help students assess the size of the problem and match an appropriate response.

The visual for a BIG problem looks like this:


for a medium problem:

medium prob

and for a small problem:

small prob

Carrying over the block visual, I have given the classroom teacher a set of small, medium, and big blocks.  When a student has difficulty identifying or assessing the size of a problem, the teacher can use the blocks.

blocks 3This is what they look like.  Small and handy to keep at your fingertips to cue before the meltdown.

Introducing Glassman from the Superflex curriculum ( provides another visual for dealing with problems.


glassmanGlass Man causes over reactions to small things.  He will be flexible to a point but then suddenly he breaks!  He doesn’t meltdown slowly, he gets super upset over small problems.  Glass Man usually thinks things are not fair.  The way to defeat Glass Man is to assess the size of the problem and match the reaction appropriately.

One more thing…

The Last Oreo on Earth is a very neat video for illustrating positive self talk as a strategy for dealing with small problems.

3 responses to “Revisiting and Revising “What is the Size of your Problem?”

  1. Kelli Williams says:

    I’m having a hard time finding the video that you reference. Can you give more details on where to find it? Thx!

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