Simple Solutions

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September 7, 2018
Issue: 
#530

“Urgh.” The sound of frustration escaped when I put my cup under the ice dispenser and watched cubes bounce into and around it onto the floor.

My five-year-old grandson, who was munching dinosaur-shaped chicken nuggets at the table, asked, “What’s the matter, Nana?”

“The ice maker missed my glass again. It’s so frustrating.”

Without even looking up, he innocently replied, “I just hold it closer to the opening.”

He was unaware of my stare as I wondered for a moment if such a simple solution could end my frustration. And indeed, it did. “Micah!” I said, “you are a genius!” I think of him and smile every time I get ice, which kerplink-kerplunks its way into the desired vessel with beautiful efficiency.

Simple solutions are cause for joy and can make a difference in our classrooms, too. Once upon a time, my students didn’t always remember to turn in their go-home folders. They were supposed to put them in the turn-in tub each morning, but there would always be three or four hidden away in Spider-Man, SpongeBob, Ninja-Turtle, and Cinderella backpacks. I needed a system that would elevate the percentage of students who remembered. Since I greeted everyone in the morning anyway, I decided to hold the homework tub as they entered. Every child continued to get eye contact, a big smile, and a personalized greeting, and I received every go-home folder before the day had even begun.

Whether it’s getting things turned in on time, organizing our classroom libraries, or sorting student supplies, it is often the simple solutions to small frustrations that make our days and lives more enjoyable. Is it the same for you? What simple solutions have made systems, routines, and procedures better for you? Head over to the discussion board and share so we can learn from each other. It’s simple.

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