Teaching EF at the End of the School Year

Blank graph paper with a blank schedule for Monday through Friday

With June approaching, you might be wondering if there is enough time to introduce a new executive function strategy, or if should you reinforce strategies that have already been taught. The answer is yes to both! The best time to introduce or reinforce an executive function strategy is any time — even at the end of the school year.

What Are Extensions?

If you’re short on time, our SMARTS Curriculum Extensions require little preparation and are flexible enough to fit into what you’re already teaching. Found at the end of the materials list for each SMARTS lesson plan, SMARTS extensions allow you to weave bits of executive function instruction into existing content. Small but mighty, SMARTS extensions:

  • Stand on their own as quick mini-lessons or serve as a way to review and reinforce a strategy taught in the full lesson
  • Require little to no preparation
  • Offer various options to embed executive function strategies within instruction and to extend the learning from a single lesson over time

The SMARTS Secondary curriculum offers over 400 extensions. Organized into six categories, these extensions include reflection/self-advocacy, test strategies, projects, and subject areas.

SMARTS Elementary features extensions for every lesson. You can also use our lesson focus sorter to curate lessons by areas such as active reading, flexible thinking and problem solving, self-understanding, perspective-taking, and more.

Using the MetaCOG Surveys?

The end of the school year is a great time to administer or re-administer the MetaCOG Surveys — the Strategy Use (STRATUS) Survey and the Motivation and Effort (ME) Survey — to measure changes in students’ strategy use and motivation.

  • Reflection: At the end of the school year, invite students to reflect by using strategy reflection sheets, guided class discussion questions, or turn and talk partners.
  • Strategy takeaways: Encourage students to think about how their strategy use and motivation has changed over the course of the school year. What strategies have they added to their toolkit? How do they know which strategy to pick and when? What strategies can they take with them as they transition into the next school year? This can be as simple as listing strategies on a sticky note or a digital note on their computer. 
  • Goal setting: Encourage students to set goals for their strategy use, motivation, and effort for next year. Students can also be involved with setting IEP goals to build their self-advocacy skills. 

Got Time? Run a Full Lesson

If your end-of-year schedule allows for full lessons, there are a number of strategies that students can use to set themselves up for summer success. Goal setting is an appropriate strategy to help students think about how they can make the most of their summer break. Purposeful highlighting is useful for test taking and summer reading. 

  • Caitlin Vanderberg, M.Ed., SMARTS Associate

SMARTS Executive Function Curriculum: smarts-ef.org

Research Institute for Learning and Development: researchild.org