Executive Function Strategies Blog

Gaining Calm by Organizing: How to Clear Your Space & Mind

We are living in an unprecedented time. As easy as it is to become overwhelmed amidst the chaos, there are things we can do to take control of the world around us in order to bring about a sense of security and calm. One of the most effective steps we can take to do this is by first getting a grip on our organizational skills. With so many of us being stuck at home, this may present the perfect opportunity to do so (spring cleaning, anyone?).

If the thought of organizing and decluttering your home is enough to make you cringe and shake with anxiety, fear not! Here are some simple steps to help you conquer your reservations and channel that energy into something productive.


The Anxious Middle Schooler: An Executive Function Connection

Middle school. For some of us, those three syllables can elicit chills of recalling social slights, embarrassing faux pas, and other growing pains of adolescence. Decades later, things haven’t changed much. In fact, it’s still about lunchtime and who you manage to sit near. As if that whole scene isn’t stressful enough, add in Executive Function challenges for a 6th, 7th, or 8th grader and you can see why kids this age can be a ball of anxiety. Heck, elementary school was a piece of cake compared to this new setting. Now they’ve got all these different teachers who talk so fast and seem to expect you to just know how to do stuff like take notes and reach out for extra help. Let’s follow a student who is having a tough time in middle school and see how some Executive Function tools might help calm the stormy seas a bit.



6 Steps to Successful Goal Setting for Students (and Adults!)

Did you ever notice that September, the beginning of the school year for most students, shares something in common with January, the beginning of the calendar year? Both present a great opportunity to start anew, wipe the slate clean, and make positive changes. For some of us, these starting points might inspire setting goals for fitness, knowledge, or skills we’d like to acquire. For students, the new school year offers opportunities to reflect and to set their own goals for how they’ll improve their approach to schoolwork. And like many of us, those goals we set often start off strong - but without a real plan for how to attain them they sink to the bottom of our priorities and rise again the next year as the very same goal. How can parents - as well as students - start off strong and persist in seeing our goals through? 



Why Our Words Matter to Struggling Students

When I was little, I can remember being told the old adage, “Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” While I understand that it was meant to encourage me and to make me feel better when someone had said mean words to me, as an adult and as an educator, I now find that phrase a little dishonest. Words have meaning and they can - and do -hurt. But words can also encourage and support, and so I advocate being mindful of the kind of language that we use around our students.