When the Going Gets Rough…

Language Arts/Social Studies

Students will reflect on what strategies they have used—and with what degree of success—when confronted with frustration or difficulty in an assignment, project, or activity.

What You Need

What to Do

  1. Share with the class a time when you had difficulty completing a task or mastering a skill. This may be related to work or to an outside interest. Describe what happened, how you felt, and how you handled it.
  2. Ask the class if they have ever experienced similar frustrations or “roadblocks” with their school work, hobbies, or activities. List their examples on the board. These may include not being able to master a certain athletic skill, homework problem, or musical piece. Discuss the feelings these types of roadblocks cause.
  3. Then ask students to discuss what kinds of strategies might be used to overcome the frustration. These may include the following options:
    • wishing the task would disappear
    • asking for help
    • repeated practice
    • taking a break
    • giving up
    • trying a different approach
    • talking over the problem
    • getting additional resources
  4. Ask them to comment on which strategies would most likely lead to a successful resolution of the problem. Why? Which would be less likely to lead to success? Why?
  5. Hand out Case Studies to groups of four students and direct them to read and discuss each situation. Have each group choose the three examples that interest them the most. They should list three to five strategies for overcoming the roadblocks posed in the case studies. Encourage creative, unusual approaches. Sometimes these are the very best! Each group will present its best strategies to the class.

Teaching Options