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Boosting Executive Skills in the Classroom: A Practical Guide for Educators

ISBN: 978-1-118-14109-0
192 pages
January 2013, Jossey-Bass
Boosting Executive Skills in the Classroom: A Practical Guide for Educators (1118141091) cover image
A guide for helping students with weak Executive Function skills to learn efficiently and effectively

Students with weak Executive Function skills need strong support and specific strategies to help them learn in an efficient manner, demonstrate what they know, and manage the daily demands of school. This book shows teachers how to do exactly that, while also managing the ebb and flow of their broader classroom needs. From the author of the bestselling parenting book Late, Lost, and Unprepared, comes a compilation of the most practical tools and strategies, designed to be equally useful for children with EF problems as well as all other students in the general education classroom.

Rooted in solid research and classroom-tested experience, the book is organized to help teachers negotiate the very fluid challenges they face every day; educators will find strategies that improve their classroom "flow" and reduce the stress of struggling to teach students with EF weaknesses.

  • Includes proven strategies for teachers who must address the needs of students with Executive Function deficits
  • Contains information from noted experts Joyce Cooper-Kahn, a child psychologist and Margaret Foster, an educator and learning specialist
  • Offers ways to extend learning and support strategies beyond the classroom
  • The book's reproducible forms and handouts are available for free download

This important book offers teachers specific strategies to help students with EF deficits learn in an efficient manner, demonstrate what they know, and manage the daily demands of school.

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About the Authors vii

Acknowledgments viii

Introduction 1

Part I Executive Functioning: The Basics 5

1 What Is Executive Functioning? 7

Definition 7

Core Executive Skills 9

How Do Executive Skills Develop? 13

To Sum Up 17

Time to Reflect 18

2 Putting a Face on Executive Functions:

Students Who Struggle 19

Executive Dysfunction: A Description,

Not a Diagnosis 19

The Normal Variability of Executive Functioning 20

The Vulnerability of Executive Functioning 21

Poorly Targeted Instruction 33

The Importance of Healthy Habits 34

Assessment 35

To Sum Up 38

Time to Refl ect 39

Part II Interventions That Boost Executive Functions 41

3 The EF-Smart Classroom 45

The Tune-up Tools: Planning, Time, Repetition, and Mind-Set 46

The Targets: Culture, Planning,

Routines, and Classroom Design 52

Planning for Change 72

To Sum Up 74

Time to Reflect 75

4 Supporting Students Who Need More Help 77

Planners 78

Materials 89

Reading 91

Writing 101

Math 105

To Sum Up 109

Time to Reflect 110

5 The EF-Smart School 111

“Old School” to New Schools 111

Faculty Meetings 115

Gathering References 116

The Magic Formula 118

To Sum Up 119

Time to Reflect 120

6 How the Specialist Can Help 121

Examining the Learning Task and Its EF Demands 122

Examining EF Skills for Levels of Automaticity and Independence: The Four-Quadrant Model 128

Consulting with Teachers 134

To Sum Up 136

Time to Reflect 137

7 Planning for Change 139

Defining a Problem of Practice 140

Planning and Reflection Guide 141

Using the Template and Guide: Case Examples 144

Plan to Monitor 157

To Sum Up 158

Time to Reflect 158

Conclusion: Helping All

Students Blossom 159

Appendix A: The Top Three Accommodations for Students with EF Problems 161

Appendix B: Accessing the Online Materials 165

Endnotes 167

Index 171

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Joyce Cooper-Kahn, PhD, is a clinical psychologist specializing in children's learning, behavioral, and emotional challenges. Coauthor of Late, Lost, and Unprepared, she presents frequently at national and international conferences.

Margaret Foster, MAed, is an instructor and consultant specializing in teaching and learning. She trains leaders internationally through WIDE World, a professional development program for educators.

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