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12 Executive Functioning Strategies for Student Success


Gearing up for the fall, teachers and parents often scour for strategies that can help learners maximize their learning potential, complete assignments on time, and manage their workload. Although, executive functioning is a no brainer for many, planning, time management and organization can be troublesome and bewildering for others. In fact, I work with many bright and capable students that have the intellect, test taking capabilities and desire to acquire top marks, yet missing assignments, lost materials, avoidant behavior and messy backpacks wreck their GPA. Each academic year offers students a fresh start, so providing them the needed resources and support is key!

Students that struggle with executive functioning are often categorized as lazy, unmotivated, and careless. These misnomers couldn't be farther from the truth. Rather, executive functioning skills are not fully developed in the brain until one reaches his or her early twenties, and expecting students to independently manage their learning can be a mistake that can derail a student from reaching their true potential. What can we do to help these frustrated learners?

12 Strategies that Can Help:
  1. Establish a structured, daily routine and write out a plan for each day of the week.
  2. Demonstrate how you set priorities, and then guide students so that they too can establish a well sequenced, and mindful plan of action.
  3. Create a consistent homework plan. This will include an allocation of time for each assignment, defined breaks, rewards and consequences.
  4. Provide a scaffolded approach to time management, and help students generate self imposed deadlines.
  5. Break large assignments into a sequence of manageable and scheduled tasks.
  6. Make accessible to-do lists on smart phones using apps like Wunderlist, desktop applications like Reminders, note taking services like Google Keep, and use a tailored planner such as The Ultimate, Mindful and Editable Planner/Agenda.
  7. Teach study skills such as note taking and test taking strategies.
  8. Provide motivating incentives and positive reinforcement when you see desired behaviors. 
  9. Utilize graphic organizers or outlines for planning ideas and writing to help students conceptualize a sequence of steps as well as an overall approach.
  10. Teach metacognitive skills by demonstrating the thought processes aloud.
  11. Be patient and supportive. Avoid any negative labels and guide students to correct responses. Also, provide students the opportunity to learn from their mistakes and gain partial credit for these efforts.
  12. Provide the tools and resources.  Have structured handouts, planner sheets, study material, and review compensatory strategies.  
Ready Made Material and Free Sample Resources:
The Executive Functioning Cognitive Remedial Bundle offers a comprehensive approach to improving a student’s planning, time management and organization abilities. This bundle offers a discounted suite of downloadable planners, cognitive remedial activities/games, and mindful handouts that were designed to help learning specialists, educational therapist and even parents assist students in developing executive functioning skills. If you would like to learn more about each of the products featured in this discounted bundle, click on any of the following titles to learn more:
To get a free sampling of activities from one of the publications in the bundle, CLICK HERE

If you would like to watch a video on this content, click on the image below:


Dr. Erica Warren is the author, illustrator and publisher of multisensory educational materials at Good Sensory Learning and Dyslexia Materials.  She is also the director of Learning to Learn and Go Dyslexia, in Ossining, NY.  To learn more about her products and services, you can go to https://godyslexia.com/, www.goodsensorylearning.com, www.dyslexiamaterials.com & www.learningtolearn.biz  

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