Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Executive Functioning Strategies

 Hi everyone, this is Shyra at Junior High Core Values. Tonight I’d like to quickly share some strategies to help students with Executive Functioning challenges.  I’ll tell you now, it’s 8PM and I’m just getting home. Today was one of those days where I had to use every trick in the book!

There are eight executive function skills that humans, be they middle schoolers or adults, are expected to use to organize information and take action.  These are;

 Each student is different, and it’s important to keep trying different strategies until one clicks.

Checklists  When I see that a student is struggling, or at an SST, I sit with the parents and student and come up with checklists for school and for home. These checklists are detailed and clear, but never go beyond one page.  They are laminated and kept in a student’s planner , binder, or iPad case. For those students with iPads, the Reminder app is a great way to set up checklists ( and it’s less likely to get lost)

Star Stickers I go through star stickers like crazy! I start off putting them next to the directions (especially on tests) but they are also used for anything I want my student to pay special attention to.

File Folders At the beginning of the year, I show my students who get overwhelmed by the AMOUNT of information on a page, how to use a file folder to cover the top and bottom. Because of this, it’s easier to focus on one task at a time.

Timers  I recommend using a timer for many things. Especially homework.

Colored Paper.  Depending on what funds you have available, I have found that this strategy works REALLY well. Every one of my study guides is neon yellow. Summative assessments are on white, graphic organizers on light blue, articles on green. 

Provide Student Choice  (Where and when appropriate of course) Whether we are writing in language arts, reading in literature, or having our “Cool Club” at lunch, I always provide students as many choices as possible. For students struggling with getting started, I always explicitly state their options, but they have to be the ones to decide what they want to start with. 

These are the basic strategies I use on a day to day basis. What strategies are you using?


  1. I like the color-coating paper strategy...Going to try that!

  2. A great post! I love color coding as well!