What’s your decision making personality?

What’s your decision making personality?

* Newsflash! This is by far my favorite lesson I’ve taught this year. Remember how excited I used to get about Jellybean Jamboree? Well, this lesson is comparable to that same excited feeling. The boys absolutely loved it! And it even taught me a little bit about the people around me and what kind of decision makers they are.Screen Shot 2014-10-08 at 10.46.45 AM

I give total props to Dianne Senn and Gwen Sitsch and their book Puzzle Pieces for coming up with such a dynamite idea. Call me a nerd, but I’m jumping out of my skin excited to even write this blog about the lesson and share it with you all! And while you are at it, by this book so you have all these great lessons at your finger tips!

I used this specific lesson with 3rd and 4th graders.

What’s Your Decision Making Personality?

Topics Covered: Decision-Making, Responsible Behaviors, and Interpersonal Effectiveness
Character Skill: Responsibility and Fairness

Screen Shot 2014-10-08 at 10.47.00 AMGive a problem scenario that you see in your 3rd and 4th classrooms that deals with a “we decision.”

I used an example about book club groups since both 3rd and 4th grade utilize these groups. Be sure your example includes 4 people (one for each decision making personality). In my example (and for your reference as you read this, so it makes sense), the boys in the group had to decide on a book to read and discuss, but were only given 10 minutes to do so.

Discuss different personalities

First we talked about what a personality was– the way a person acts most of the time. Then, I explain how we each have our own decision-making personality. I told them that this was good because it helped people come up with lots of different ideas, but when it came to making “we decisions,” having different decision-making personalities makes it difficult to make decisions in a group.

Screen Shot 2014-10-08 at 10.47.21 AM

Next, I described each personality as it related to the boys in the pretend book club group. We compared each personality to a different car.

Bobby: He like everyone’s book choice. He went along with everyone’s ideas. He never came up with any ideas and his mind changed every time a new idea was presented to the group.

Bobby is what we call a bumper car personality because he bounces off everyone else’s ideas.

Bumper Car Decision-Making Personality: A bumper car’s opinion changes every time something new comes along. The problem with a bumper car is that he usually never makes up his own mind.

88008315Trey: Trey knew the book he wanted to read as soon as he heard the assignment. He tried convincing everyone to go along with his idea. Eventually, he stopped participating in the discussion. He wasn’t really listening because in his mind the decision was already made.

Trey is a race car because he makes quick decisions.

Race Car Decision-Making Personality: People with race car personalities make quick decisions. The problem with race car personalities is that they do not always think of the consequences of their choices.


Right now in our situation, Bobby and Trey would probably agree on a book because Bobby is just bouncing off Trey’s quick decision.

David: David is the opposite of Trey. He makes slow, careful decisions. He likes to make lists. So he decides to make a list of all the possible book choices. He has a long list. David needs a lot of time to think through a decision. This won’t work in their 10 minute time period.

We can compare him to the family van because is safe, careful, and reliable.

Family Van Decision-Making Personality: these people take their time. While they play it safe, the problem is they are too slow to make a decision.


So now, Bobby would still be happy because now he would bounce over to David’s ideas. BUT, Trey would be really annoyed with David’s slow decision-making.

Jonathan: Jonathon also made up his mind quickly about what book to read. But instead of wanting to move on, Jonathan disagreed with everyone else’s choices. He would say mean comments about their suggestions. Anytime someone tried to say something, Jonathan made a mean face or rolled his eyes. He made it obvious that he was annoyed.

Jonathan is what we call an 18 wheeler because he runs down other people’s ideas.

18 wheeler Decision-Making Personality: People with 18 wheeler personalities take a stand and stick to it. They do not give in. The problem with 18 wheelers is that they do not respect other’s opinions.


We end the story knowing that Jonathan is probably making many people upset, including Bobby who really just wants everyone to agree.

Explain that there is no right personality to be.

Your personality for making decisions should depend upon the type of decision that’s being made.

Let’s think of appropriate times to be each decision-making personality.

Bumper Car: When you are trying to pick a game to play at recess.

Race Car: When you’re picking lunch in the morning and have to choose between a hot dog and a hamburger

Family Van: When you’ve been given money for your birthday and you are trying to decide how to spend it

18 wheeler: When someone is trying to get you to make a choice that’s bad for you

Screen Shot 2014-10-08 at 10.47.36 AMActivity

  1. Create a vehicle that best represents your decision-making personality.
  2. Be creative. You could be a bumper van or a race 18 wheeler. Gather more ideas about how they could do this creatively.
  3. Share drawings. Why do you think you are that decision-making car?

What’s your decision-making personality? What would your car look like?

I’m still thinking about mine. Thinking about it makes me want to be a better person . . . thinking and appreciating ideas that are different than mine.


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