Executive Functioning

Sometimes our students struggle with executive functioning skills. Executive functioning is “the management of cognitive processes,” which can include memory, problem solving and organization.

 

Choose a skill below to identify what it might look like in your students and strategies to support their learning.

Organization

 

What it looks like:

Students might have papers scattered throughout their desk, book bag and locker.  They are unable to keep or find work.

Strategies:

  • Give students a packet with their work that is clearly labeled with each section.
  • Color-code paper handouts
  • Color-code folders for classes/homework/work completed
  • Post the agenda

Memory

 

What it looks like:

Students might have difficulty remembering information and directions.

Strategies:

  • Have directions posted so the students can read them as well as hear them verbally
  • Create a one page “review/recap” for each week/unit
  • Review what was taught the previous day in the beginning of the lesson
  • Recap the day’s lesson/objective at the end of each lesson in the exit ticket

Self-Regulating (Impulses)

 

What it looks like:

Students might over-react either verbally, physically or emotionally.  Students are not capable of controlling themselves.

Strategies:

  • Use proximity to answer students questions and calm any anxieties
  • Have steps in place for students that might over-react or become anxious (1. Re-read the steps, 2. Ask a friend, 3. Ask a teacher) Tape these steps to their desk for reference
  • Create a “points” or positive behavior system

Planning and Preparation

 

What it looks like:

Students might struggle with knowing what is the most important aspect of a task/project.  Students cannot see the “big picture” or be able to break the task down into smaller pieces.

Strategies:

  • Break the task down into smaller sections and tasks
  • List the instructions/directions
  • Create a check list
  • Have students identify the goal or most important aspect of the activity

Transitions

 

What it looks like:

Students struggle with starting or ending tasks.  They might become sidetracked or “lost.”

Strategies:

  • Write the agenda on the board and on the students’ desk/worksheet so they know what to expect
  • Give students all of their classwork in a “work plan” so they do not have to go through multiple papers, notebooks or folders
  • Have everything clearly labeled for each park of the lesson with a place for the students to write (Do Now, reading, think-pair share, exit ticket etc)