The Educator's PLN

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Problem Solving: Where is it in our schools?!

I love games, especially ones that stretch my mind towards problem-solving skills. We all know that challenges teach us perseverance, dedication and delayed gratification. Too many of our students live in a world where many of these barriers have been removed or weakened, in order for children to be "successful". I don't know about you - but I like for my students to be UNsuccessful (but not all the time of course :) ) Historically, those people who were the most unsuccessful were the most successful! (e.g. Edison). 


I teach orchestra (6-12), and each day I present 'problems' for students that must be solved quickly - in order to demonstrate a necessary performance skill. It is always on the more difficult compositions that my students feel most successful. If I were to give them a piece of music on which I KNEW they would be immediately successful - it would be a very boring learning experience. Sure, they would perform the piece sooner and with greater ease, but it would not stretch their minds - and they know it. 


Along these lines, I discovered a game that I would like to share with you. While walking around Barnes and Noble (my guilty pleasure), near the crosswords, logic puzzles and games was KenKen. These puzzles are similar to Sudoku - but offer a very different challenge. Below is Will Shortz explaining how to play the game. I encourage you to get these - to challenge yourself and your students NO MATTER THE SUBJECT. We need more people presenting simple problems for students to solve to help their cognitive-independence. 


If your a teacher you can sign up for FREE weekly puzzles at 


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