Back to School with SMARTS

As the school year gets underway, many educators are brainstorming how to maximize student success with the SMARTS curriculum. Whether you’re new to SMARTS or you’ve been a SMARTS educator for years, try these quick tips to get the most out of SMARTS this fall.

Quality Over Quantity

When planning your SMARTS lessons, remember that students will benefit from mastering a few strategies rather than skimming through many. Determine which lessons and strategies pair well with the academic content of certain grades and which ones can be taught to students year after year. Some elementary teachers may choose a few SMARTS strategies and infuse them in all classroom lessons and activities throughout the school year. 

Schedule Reflection Time

Tempted to skip over student reflection because of a lack of time? Resist! Reflection is essential for students to think metacognitively, understand their strengths and challenges, and begin to plan their future strategy use. Strategy reflection sheets are included at the end of each SMARTS lesson, or you can create other ways for students to reflect through exit tickets, polls, and Google forms. Here are a few questions to promote student reflection

Customize SMARTS for Your Students

When setting goals for this year, remember to take advantage of SMARTS’ customizable format to ensure that you meet your students’ individual needs. All SMARTS lessons are modular and can be taught in any combination. For example, you can sort your SMARTS strategies by academic tasks, time of year, or lesson focus areas (e.g., time management and planning, self-understanding, perspective taking.). Be sure to modify the lesson PowerPoints to include content and examples that are meaningful for your students. 

Model Your Own Strategy Use

Too often, students think that adults don’t need to organize and use executive function strategies. Think again! Making your strategy use visible to students can help them understand the importance of strategy use. Students may benefit from seeing different examples of organization systems as they begin to build their own. Lastly, modeling persistence and cognitive flexibility for students can inspire them when they are faced with challenges in their own lives.

Looking for more information about the SMARTS Online Executive Function Curriculum? Visit our Get Smarts page to talk with an experienced SMARTS educator who can help you select the program that fits your needs. 

Join us this November for the 36th Annual Executive Function Conference, which will focus on promoting resilience and equity for ALL students.

  • Caitlin Vanderberg, M.Ed., SMARTS Program Associate

SMARTS Executive Function Curriculum:

Research Institute for Learning and Development:

The Institute for Learning and Development: