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25 Cognitive Flexibility Jokes!

“I once worked at a cheap pizza shop to get by. I kneaded the dough.” Get it? Silly jokes and puns that play with the meanings and sounds of words offer fun ways to help students develop their cognitive flexibility.

Executive function processes such as cognitive flexibility, shifting, and flexible thinking are key to students’ academic success. Students who are rigid will struggle with tasks such as reading, taking tests, or even navigating non-school challenges (like snakes). The challenges of remote and hybrid learning have only increased the need for flexibility.

Teaching cognitive flexibility does not need to be boring! Many games rely on cognitive flexibility (check out these games we like, but watch out for games to avoid). We also love to link humor with cognitive flexibility. By analyzing jokes, students can practice examining language from multiple perspectives in a way that is engaging and low stakes. Classic stories such as Amelia Bedelia or Eats, Shoots, and Leaves are great resources, and you can find many examples online as well.

Here are 25 cognitive flexibility jokes that had us cracking up in the SMARTS office, and we think they would be great to use with students:

  1. Writing my name in cursive is my signature move.
  2. Why do bees stay in their hives during winter? Swarm.
  3. What do you call a pig with laryngitis? Disgruntled.
  4.  Dad, are we pyromaniacs? Yes, we arson.
  5. If you’re bad at haggling, you’ll end up paying the price
  6. Just so everyone’s clear, I’m going to put my glasses on.
  7. A commander walks into a bar and orders everyone around.
  8. I lost my job as a stage designer. I left without making a scene.
  9. Never buy flowers from a monk. Only you can prevent florist friars.
  10. How much did the pirate pay to get his ears pierced? A buccaneer.
  11. I once worked at a cheap pizza shop to get by. I kneaded the dough.
  12. My friends and I have named our band ‘Duvet’. It’s a cover band.
  13. I lost my girlfriend’s audiobook, and now I’ll never hear the end of it.
  14. Why is ‘dark’ spelled with a k and not c? Because you can’t see in the dark.
  15. Why is it unwise to share your secrets with a clock? Well, time will tell.
  16. When I told my contractor I didn’t want carpeted steps, they gave me a blank stare.
  17. Bono and The Edge walk into a Dublin bar and the bartender says, “Oh no, not U2 again.”
  18. Prison is just one word to you, but for some people, it’s a whole sentence.
  19. Scientists got together to study the effects of alcohol on a person’s walk, and the result was staggering.
  20.  I’m trying to organize a hide-and-seek tournament, but good players are really hard to find.
  21. I got over my addiction to chocolate, marshmallows, and nuts. I won’t lie, it was a rocky road.
  22. What do you say to comfort a friend who’s struggling with grammar? There, their, they’re.
  23. I went to the toy store and asked the assistant where the Schwarzenegger dolls are and he replied, “Aisle B, back.”
  24. What did the surgeon say to the patient who insisted on closing up their own incision? Suture self.
  25. I’ve started telling everyone about the benefits of eating dried grapes. It’s all about raisin awareness.

Do you have any favorite puns or jokes that illustrate cognitive flexibility? Let us know in the comments!

  • Elizabeth Ross, M.A., SMARTS Media Manager

SMARTS Executive Function Curriculum: smarts-ef.org

Research Institute for Learning and Development: researchild.org

The Institute for Learning and Development: ildlex.org

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4 Questions to Promote Student Reflection

Helping students to reflect on their executive function strategy use is essential to building their metacognition. When students reflect on the strategies they are using to plan, prioritize, break down tasks, and achieve their goals, they develop their ability to use strategies independently in the future.

Too often teachers skip over student reflection, not because they think it’s unimportant but because they run out of time. How can you integrate strategy reflection from day one? Make these four questions a part of your practice.

How do you think you did?

Instead of asking a yes-or-no question (“Did you like this activity?”), ask students to rate their work on a scale. You might consider using a numbered scale (1 = poor and 5 = great) or use emojis (frowning face, neutral face, smiling face).

Why did you pick that rating?

Next, ask students to explain their rating. What went well? What didn’t go so well? In SMARTS, we usually provide a checklist with positive options (“I worked productively” or “This fits my learning style”) as well as negative options (“I had a hard time focusing” or “This type of assignment is hard for me”).  By including both positives and negatives, we can help students understand that we all have strengths and challenges that impact our performance.

What did you learn about yourself?

Developing an accurate picture of our strengths and challenges is the bedrock of metacognition. Without opportunities to reflect, many students have global views of their abilities (“School is always easy for me” or “I guess I’m dumb”). Ask: What was the hardest part?  What was the easiest part? Reflection helps students develop a more nuanced self-understanding of their abilities.

What will you do next time?

Figuring out what to do next time should always be the goal of reflection. Ask: How can you take what you have learned and apply it in the future? What would you do differently? What would you keep the same? By thinking through their plan as part of reflection, students can connect what they’ve learned to future assignments and even goals or projects outside of school.

By integrating these four types of questions into strategy instruction, your students will become more metacognitive in their approach to learning. Whether these questions are part of a written strategy reflection assignment or a class strategy share, reflection will help your students develop into resilient and flexible learners!

  • Michael Greschler, M.Ed., SMARTS Director


SMARTS Executive Function Curriculum: smarts-ef.org

Research Institute for Learning and Development: researchild.org

The Institute for Learning and Development: ildlex.org

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ADHD Uncategorized

15 Relatable ADHD Memes to Brighten Your Day

ADHD makes life hard for students, teachers, parents, everyone!

While executive function strategies can help students succeed, sometimes students with ADHD are going to have a tough time. That’s when it is important to let off steam and remember that others face similar ADHD challenges. Here are some of our favorite funny ADHD memes that will hopefully help you, or someone you know, have a good laugh and know that they are not alone.

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We hope that these make you laugh! What are your favorite ADHD memes? Let us know in the comments.

  • Elizabeth Ross, M.A., SMARTS Media Manager

SMARTS Executive Function Curriculum: smarts-ef.org

Research Institute for Learning and Development: researchild.org

The Institute for Learning and Development: ildlex.org

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Why Do You Come to ResearchILD’s Learning Differences Virtual Conference?

Are you looking for a conference where you can learn about learning differences and how executive function strategies can help mediate stress and foster persistence and resilience?

We are excited to announce that registration is open for the 35th Annual Learning Differences Conference — now presented virtually!

This year’s conference will take place over Zoom from October 8 – 10, 2020. Conference participants will:

  • Explore innovative research and the implications for effective clinical practice and classroom teaching.
  • Learn about executive function strategies that benefit all students from kindergarten into high school and the college years and span reading, writing, math, and other content area subjects.
  • Receive a Certificate of Participation for 12 hours of instruction.

This year is the 35th anniversary of our Learning Differences Conference. What brings back our attendees year after year? Stephen Stuntz, Assistant Director of Instructional Support for Woodstock Vermont area schools, shares why he attends in the video below:

To find out more, check out these posts about the LD Conference.

Register today. Hope to see you there!

  • Elizabeth Ross, M.A., SMARTS Media Manager
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Executive Function SMARTS Strategies Uncategorized

Free Webinar: Executive Function and Math

Why is math so hard for some students? If you ask them, you might hear answers such as, “It’s too complicated” or “It’s boring.” However, many students struggle with math because of weaknesses in executive function processes.
To help all students succeed in math, educators must understand the role executive function plays in successful math learning as well as strategies they can use to make math learning a more joyful process for students who struggle. This important topic will be the focus of our free webinar below.

Complex calculations and problem solving in math are challenging for many typically developing learners, and even more so for students with attentional weaknesses, executive function weaknesses, and/or learning disabilities. In addition, the Common Core math standards are placing higher demands on our students than ever before, adding stress and reducing the joy of learning.

Part of the problem may be the current trend towards emphasizing a constructivist approach to learning math. Students are expected to notice patterns and deduce mathematical rules from their observations. This can be extremely challenging for students with learning differences, who may struggle to sequence information or focus for extended periods. Without differentiated instruction, these students may fall further behind and lose confidence in their ability to succeed.

By understanding best practices for supporting student’s executive function needs, especially as they pertain to math, teachers can integrate strategy instruction into the curriculum and establish regular teaching practices to support their students’ executive skills (self-regulation, working memory, planning and sequencing, organization, flexible thinking, and self-monitoring). Using these approaches will increase student motivation, build confidence, and create more enthusiastic math learners.

We will be exploring important executive function processes as they pertain to math in our free webinar, “Executive Function and Math. Replay is available below: