Teaching Decision Making Skills to Elementary Students in 2023

If you are an elementary teacher looking to learn how to help your students make good choices independently, then you found the right place! Teaching decision making skills prepare kids to make good choices that are safe and effective. Students who are able to make good choices are more independent than students who cannot. In this post, we’ll go into detail about what decision making is and why it’s important. In addition, we’ll share tips and ideas for how to teach decision making skills in an elementary classroom setting. Read all about helping students make good choices in and out of the classroom by teaching them decision making skills below!

What Does Decisions Making Skills Mean?

Decision Making Skills means developing skills and thought processes for making good choices both in the classroom and outside the classroom. By teaching students decision making skills you are teaching them how to make choices that are safe, fair and reasonable. 

Why is it Important for Kids to Learn Decision Making Skills?

It is important for kids to learn decision make skills because it gives them a toolkit to make good choices. When students learn decision making skills they are equipped to make the best choice when presented with different options. They are also able to manage their behavior by making good choices with their behavior. 

How Do I Know If I Need to Teach Decision Making in My Classroom?

The students in your 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th or 5th grade classroom would benefit from decision making lessons and activities if any of these statements are true:

  • Students aren’t making good choices.
  • Students are struggling to make choices independently.
  • They are being influenced by their peers.
  • Students are having a hard time regulating their behavior.
  • Students are being unsafe or unkind.

5 Reasons To Promote Making Good Choices In Your Elementary Classroom

Below are 5 reasons to promote decision making in your elementary classroom.

1. It Fosters Independence

Teaching decision making skills fosters independence in students. It gives them the tools to make decisions on their own that are safe and effective. Having decision making skills allows students to make decisions on their own without the help from a teacher. 

2. Decision Making Skills Are An SEL Competency 

Decision making skills are one of the essential skills for all students to learn according to CASEL, the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning, who are the leaders in social emotional learning. This means that making good choices is valued at an extremely high level and that it’s importance stays with students year after year. 

3. Prepares Students for Many Situations

Equipping students with the skills for making good choices prepares them for a wide variety of situations. Students will be able to combine their past decisions with current or upcoming situations to make good choices. Students will be able to use their decision making toolkit to make responsible choices no matter what they are facing. 

4. Promotes Being Reflective

Making good choices promotes students reflecting on the choices that they made. In order to determine if they made a good choice or not, students have to look at the choice they made, what happened because of that choice, and if they would make the same decision again. This creates very reflective and insightful students. 

5. Promotes Self Regulation

Decision making skills promote self regulation and self management. Students will be learning how to make good choices in all areas, including making good choices with their bodies. This decision making will help them practice regulating their emotions and bodies and reflecting on whether they made safe choices with their bodies. 

5 Tips and Ideas for Teaching Decisions Making

1. Read Aloud Picture Books about Making Good Choices

Picture books are a great way to introduce and teach an SEL topic. It gets students thinking about the topic and activating their background knowledge. Check out this list of picture books for teaching choices!

2. Watch Videos about Making Good Choices

There are tons of free online videos out there that promote social emotional learning. It’s a fun and engaging way to teach SEL skills that your students will enjoy. Check out these videos for teaching making good choices!

Vocabulary words can help students develop understanding of decision making and create connections through related words. Our Choices SEL unit includes ten vocabulary cards with words related to the SEL topic. It is important for students to be able to see, hear, and use relevant vocabulary while learning. One idea for how to use them is to create an SEL word wall as students learn the words.

4. Provide Practice Opportunities

When learning any skill, students need time to practice. Social emotional learning skills are no different! Our Choices SEL unit includes scenario cards, discussion cards, choice boards, games, and much more. These provide students with opportunities to practice the skills independently, with partners or small groups, or as a whole class.

5. Integrate Other Content Areas

Integrating other content areas with this topic is a great way to approach this SEL topic. Our Choices SEL unit includes reading, writing, and art activities.

Download the SEL Activities

Click an image below to either get this individual choices unit or get ALL 30 SEL units!

Choices SEL UnitSocial Emotional Learning Units Bundle

In closing, we hope you found this information about teaching decision making skills helpful! If you did, then you may also be interested in these posts.

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