Executive Function at the End of the School Year

Teacher standing next to student working at desk

The end of the school year is a great time to reflect on students’ growth and consider how you can set them up for success in the upcoming year. Students can reflect on their new executive function strategies, and teachers can collaborate with colleagues to identify strategies and recommendations for a smooth transition to the next grade level.

End-of-Year Suggestions for Students

Reflect and Celebrate: Take time to reflect with your students on their growth using executive function strategies throughout the year. Celebrate their successes, big and small, and discuss challenges they’ve overcome. Encouraging self-reflection helps build metacognitive awareness, a key aspect of executive function.

Review Strategies: Review the executive function strategies you’ve taught throughout the year and discuss which were most effective for different tasks. Encourage students to identify strategies that work best for them personally, which promotes metacognition. You can even reinforce some of these executive function strategies with end-of-year lessons and extension ideas.

Set Goals for the Summer and Beyond: Guide your students in setting realistic and meaningful goals for the future. Help them break down larger goals into smaller, manageable steps, reinforcing the importance of planning and organization.

End-of-Year Suggestions for Teachers

Gather Data: Use a variety of sources to gather information about each student’s executive function strategy use. This could include their MetaCOG Survey reports from the Strategy Use (STRATUS) and Motivation and Effort (ME) surveys. You can also gather data from observations, reflection sheets, work samples, and input from parents or other teachers.

Be Specific: When making recommendations, be specific about the areas where the student excels and where they could use additional support. This is especially important for organization, which can refer to materials, ideas, information, or time. For example, instead of saying, “Student A struggles with organization,” you could say, “Student A has made great progress in organizing materials this year, but they could benefit from continued support in keeping papers in folders for each class.”

Provide Strategies: Identify specific strategies that have worked well for the student in the past. For example, if a student has had success using a planner to keep track of assignments, suggest that the next teacher encourage them to continue using this strategy.

By making thoughtful recommendations for your students’ executive function and reinforcing the strategies they learned, you can set them up for success in the upcoming school year. Your insights and support can greatly impact their academic and personal growth. Fostering these strategies doesn’t just prepare them for the next grade level; it equips them with tools for lifelong success!

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About the Author

Caitlin Vanderberg, Ed.M., is a SMARTS Associate and an Educational Specialist. She leads the MetaCOG Surveys & Toolkit and provides academic support to students with learning, attention, and executive function challenges. Before joining ResearchILD in 2020, Caitlin worked as an assistant elementary school teacher and with many arts education programs. Caitlin holds an Ed.M. in Mind, Brain, and Education from Harvard University Graduate School of Education.

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