Executive Functioning, Crista Ward

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Over the past two weeks in executive functioning we have been working on setting up good organizational skills. The students are getting used to the new binder format. While the intention of the slim binder is to simplify life, it can sometimes be complicated when breaking old habits. Embracing new expectations is a work in progress but attitudes seem to be shifting towards understanding our middle school system of binder organization. We had our first binder quiz this morning. It was an announced quiz, so the kids were made aware two days prior, but future binder quizzes will be unannounced. The purpose is to help the kids make sure they have all the necessary materials in order to be prepared for class and are staying on top of keeping their binders neat and orderly. In addition to becoming more comfortable with binders, the students have a more explicit way to use their planners. For example, they are to write down “NH” in a class where there is no homework. This helps them know that they do not have homework instead of being uncertain if there is homework or that they did not forget to write something down.  Also, our planners this year have space at the end of each column with time slots to write down afterschool activities. Having a visual reminder that there is a volleyball game, track practice or babysitting at a certain time afterschool helps student visualize where there open spaces are to complete homework and other nightly requirements. Finally, we have graphed what we devote our time to in our daily lives and how much time we spend doing each thing. Seeing a day in their life broken up by color gives them a real visual of how much free time they actually have in the day, how much time is spent on priorities and how some of their time could be better spent.