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Tools for Getting Along: Teaching Students to Problem Solve

1403 Norman Hall
University of Florida
Gainesville, FL 32611
Contact Information
Prof. Stephen W. Smith

Program Specifications



Age/Grade Level:






Target Settings:

Urban, Suburban

Target Groups:

Grade Level, School Wide

Other Participation Criteria:



Tools for Getting Along is designed to help upper elementary school teachers establish a positive, cooperative classroom atmosphere. Tools for Getting Along enables students to become effective, proactive problem solvers as they encounter social challenges. Its instructional focus is on understanding and dealing with frustration and anger, since anger is a frequent correlate of disruptive and aggressive behavior and is often preceded by frustration. The lessons help students learn how to recognize and manage anger, how anger may lead to or exacerbate social problems, and how students can use problem-solving steps to generate, implement, and evaluate solutions to problems they face every day. Tools for Getting Along lessons include concepts and skills related to anger management and problem solving and incorporate direct instruction, modeling, guided practice, independent practice, and skill generalization. Five lessons are devoted to practicing learned skills through role-plays, and there are six booster lessons to assist in the generalization of learned skills.

Program Descriptors Include:

Behavior Management/Discipline, Bullying/Violence, Life Skills Training

Program Rating:

Moderate Evidence

Starting Year:


Students Served Per Year:


Last Verified:

February 7th, 2017

Strategies for Locating Students:


Reenrolled Students with Disabilities:


Risk Factors

Program addresses the following:

Individual Factors

  • High-risk social behavior
  • Misbehavior
  • Early aggression

Protective Factors

Program promotes the following:


  • Opportunities and rewards for pro-social involvement
  • Clear social norms
  • Good relationships with parents, peers, and teachers
  • Involvement with positive peer activities
  • Perception of support from adults and peers


  • Positive/resilient temperament


  • Social competencies
  • Self efficacy


  • Problem-solving skills
  • Flexibility


  • Instruction on behavior and social skills
  • Help students to address problems that interfere with learning

Program Resources

Annual Cost:

The annual cost range of the program is less than $25,000 or less than $500 per student.

Funding Sources Include:


Program Staff Includes:

Teachers, Counselors

Materials Used:

Instructional Texts/Manuals

Supporting/Partner Organizations:

Office of Special Education Programs; Institute of Education Sciences

Evaluation Information

Description of Program Impact:
Across two studies we report outcomes for Tools for Getting Along, a social problem solving universally delivered curriculum designed to reduce the developmental risk for serious emotional or behavioral problems among upper elementary grade students. We analyzed pre-intervention and post-intervention teacher-report and student self-report data from 14 schools, 87 classrooms, and a total of 1,296 students in one study and 165 students in a second study using multilevel modeling. Results indicated that students who were taught TFGA had a more positive approach to problem solving and a more rational problem-solving style. Treated students with relatively poor baseline scores benefited from TFGA on (a) problem-solving knowledge; (b) teacher-rated executive functioning, proactive aggression, and social skills; and (c) self-reported trait anger and anger expression. Thus, TFGA may reduce risk for emotional and behavioral difficulties and drop out by improving students' cognitive and emotional self-regulation and increasing their pro-social choices.

How Evaluation Data Was Collected:
Data collected and analyzed at school/district level

Additional Evaluation Information: