10 Ways to Teach Executive Functioning Skills in the Classroom and at Home

© 2012 Good Sensory Learning
Teaching executive functioning skills is a must in this fast paced day and age.  Although some find it a "no brainer" to organize, plan and manage time, many students struggle with this skill. In addition, the technological tools such as smart phones, that teachers and many adults use to assist them with reminders and the maintenance of routines is not allowed in schools due to the distracting nature of these gadgets.  So how can we teach this skill? 

  1. Make sure that the environment is organized and it is maintained on a daily basis.  
  2. Set an example.  Use a planner and create a structured routine for yourself and use labeled boxes, shelves and filing systems so that everything has it's place.
  3. Praise self initiation.  In the beginning, rewarding kids for executive functioning skills will provide greater motivation.
  4. Organize time and post it around the house or classroom so that a daily routine can be established.
  5. Provide structure by offering a lot of support in the beginning.  Do the process together and slowly pull away as the needed skills are acquired independently.
  6. Give reminders and help students come up with systems so that they can remind others as well as themselves. 
  7. Use calendars.  Show the different calendar options to students and let them pick their preference.  Some students need to see the “big picture” and may prefer a month or two at a glance, others may choose one or to weeks at a time, and then there are those who like to manage one day at a time.  Checking and maintaining these calendars at allocated times on a daily basis is important.
  8. Stay calm and supportive.  Maintaining a mindful and peaceful demeanor will help to create a “safe” environment where students can learn from their mistakes.
  9. Avoid negative labels such as careless or unmotivated as it will only create negative energy.  For many, name calling will make children feel helpless to the point where they stop trying.
  10. Provide breaks.  For many, the maintenance of executive skills is exhausting and scheduling unstructured breaks can help provide some “down time.”
Here is a free downloadable PowerPoint on the topic

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