SMARTS in Action! Teaching Executive Function Strategies in a Dynamic School Setting – Part 2

This is Part 2 in the story of how SMARTS is being implemented at the Dorchester Conservatory Lab Charter School. Catch up on Part 1 here!

Today, Sean is introducing a SMARTS lesson on self-monitoring. When he asks his students for their definitions of self-monitoring, he receives spot-on responses like these: “I make sure that I manage my own distractions,” “I need to keep an eye on myself to make sure I am doing the right thing,” and “I am teaching myself to stay on task, to focus and prioritize, and not to fool around.” The students begin their group work, and when Sean rings a chime the group self-monitors for on-task behavior.

These 25 students are well on their way to understanding the role of metacognition—thinking about how they think and how they learn—which is a key component of SMARTS Online. By learning to monitor and manage themselves, these students are developing essential skills for successful goal-directed behavior.

Sean asks his students, “How does a change in behavior help you in setting a goal and reaching it?” One student says she reminds herself to shift her mindset in looking at an issue in a different way and that this shift allows her to become a more strategic learner. Another girl mentions that she always has a Plan B: if she leaves a sticky note reminder on her mirror at home, she backs it up with the use of an electronic alert on her phone once she gets to school.

Sean is committed to having his students articulate and manage three daily goals and reflect on the time they spend at home. How many hours for writing an essay? How many hours playing video games? How many hours talking with friends or eating dinner? When students reflect on how they spend their time, they can learn how to shift their mindset towards greater productivity and time management.

Stay tuned for part 3 of this post, coming soon!

And if you want to hear the story of SMARTS at the Conservatory Lab in person, come to their presentation at the 32nd Annual Learning Differences Conference on March 10–11.

  • Jamie Cutler, M.S., Director of Marketing