One of the most effective ways to teach problem-solving skills in the classroom is through reading, language, and classroom discussion. And Clifford is the perfect pup to help—students love the Big Red Dog! 

    With Halloween fast approaching, Clifford’s First Halloween and Clifford’s Halloween are two timely reads to help students understand just what it takes to solve problems and overcome any challenges they may face, especially if it’s a problem related to their Halloween costume. In the following lesson, students learn not only language and literacy skills from Clifford, but also key critical thinking and problem-solving skills that will benefit them for years to come. 

    Here’s how you and Clifford can teach problem-solving with reading, language, and classroom discussion:

    Too Small, Too Big! With Clifford This Halloween

    In Clifford’s First Halloween, Clifford is such a small puppy that he’s too small to fit into any Halloween costumes. But, like all pups, he grows big, so big that he can’t fit into any costumes either—the saga of which is recounted in Clifford’s Halloween. So, what’s a pup to do?

  • Start by reading Clifford’s First Halloween aloud to your class.
  • When reading the story, remember to turn the pages slowly and speak with distinct inflections in your voice to really bring life to the text.
  • Now, have students identify what Clifford did to solve his problem. 
  • Next, read Clifford’s Halloween aloud and instruct students to discuss what Clifford did to overcome this challenge. What did he do to solve his problem this time?
  • During class discussion, help children recall story details, compare the two stories, and lend creative suggestions about how they might have helped Clifford with his size challenge. Your students are sure to have some wise and entertaining solutions for their favorite pup!
  • Additionally, to delve a bit deeper with students and help them learn about growth and change, consider creating a classroom display where they can compare how they’ve grown since their own “puppy days.” 

    For this activity:

  • Start by reminding them that as we grow, we change, we learn, and we become the best we can be. 
  • Ask children to bring a baby picture from home.
  • Next, make two displays: one with baby pictures and one with current school year pictures. Place a picture of Clifford as a puppy atop the baby display and Clifford grown up atop the current picture display.
  • Encourage children to express how everyone has changed throughout the years. Don't forget to add your picture in there for children to see how you were once a "pup" yourself!
  • Being able to overcome adversity and helping others do the same will be key to your students’ success inside and outside the classroom. Throughout the remaining school year, students can reflect upon what they’ve learned from Clifford—and from their own experiences—to solve the problems and challenges they may face.