Skills Building: Mae Among the Stars (PK-2)

Unit 12 Book - Salt in his Shoes

Written by Deloris Jordan & Roslyn M. Jordan and illustrated by Kadir Nelson

Pre- Reading Questions 

  1. Talk about a time you learned something new and challenging, what did you do to learn more about the new challenge?
  2. What does problem-solving mean to you?
  3. How can preparing for a new task help us improve our skills at something?
  4. Have you ever helped a friend or family member problem solve a challenge they were having? If so, what did you do to help them find solutions?

Post- Reading Questions

  1. Why did Michael’s mother tell him to put salt in his shoes, do you believe she thought that was going to make him taller?
  2. When his parents gave him advice, what did he do to play the game better?
  3. How did Michael’s feelings change throughout the book?
  4. What was Michael’s problem and how did he solve it?

Creative Enrichment Activity: Problem Solving Basketball (PK - 5)


In the book Salt in His Shoes, we learned about how Michael Jordan felt worried about playing basketball with his brothers and self-conscious about his height. Even though he could have given up, he decided to practice and practice. He still was shorter than his brothers and the kids they played against, but with all that practice, it didn’t matter! He shot the winning basket for his team! In this activity, we will create our own problem-solving basket and throw our solutions into the basket.


  • Template printed on cardstock (pre-cut middle hole, students can cut the rest)
  • Markers
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • 4” x 4” squares of paper (approximately), 5 pieces per student


45 minutes (for staff: 5-minute pre-activity setup, 15-minute prep)

  • 5 minutes: Introduce the activity using the book and examples. Brainstorm with students a problem that they might have. 
  • 20 minutes: Decorate basket template and write their problem on the template. Cut out templates on all solid lines. Cut flap to fold. Fold on all dotted lines, tape pieces together. 
  • 5 minutes: Write solutions on pieces of orange paper to make “basketballs” and crumple them
  • 5 minutes: Play Problem Solving Basketball
  • 5 minutes: Clean up
  • 5 minutes: Reflect 


  1. Introduce the activity using the book and the examples. Have a group discussion about a problem that the students may have and possible solutions.
  2. Older students cut out templates on all solid lines, including the center circle.
  3. Younger students cut out the template, cut on all solid lines. (The center circle should be pre-cut by staff. Staff may need to help students with the flap cut.) 
  4. Students decorate their basket template and write the problem they chose to consider.  
  5. Students fold on all dotted lines and tape flaps together. 
  6. Students write the solutions to their problems on the orange pieces of paper and crumple them up. 
  7. Play Problem Solving Basketball! 
  8. Clean up the materials. 
  9. Reflect as a group.

Reflection Questions

    • How did it feel to play Problem Solving Basketball? 
    • Were you able to think of some good solutions to your problems? 
    • Did you think of anything new? 
    • Share your problem and one solution you thought about with the person next to you. 

    NOTE: Save scraps from this activity and any other “clean” trash for the activity next week.