I have walked into classrooms many times to observe children and saw a frustrated child who had not even started the classroom activity and a frustrated teacher who had prompted them a few times. Finally, after providing a couple “remember we are working on….” prompts, I often see teachers move to prompting the student to get out the correct materials and assisting them in determining the first step. Sometimes this solves the problem, but often times the student completes the first step that the teacher told them to do and then stops working.
- Done (Red): Have the child visualize what the end result looks and feels like. Ask questions like: What will it look like? How will I feel? What will I see once it is completed? Is this the same or different as another assignment I have done? Visualization is a good strategy to help children initiate tasks. Also, it asking the child how they feel when they are done may help take some of the “gloom and doom” out of getting starting on something difficult or non-preferred.
- Do (Green): Ask questions like: What are the steps? How much time do I have? How long will each step take? What is my goal time to finish? What is my half-way check point?. Have them determine how much time each step is going to take using the 360 Thinking Timer app or an analog clock with sticky flags indicating start and stop times (based on their estimations). This will help build in a tense of time which is needed for time management skills.
- Get Ready (Yellow): Ask what materials will I need? You may ask the older child to complete the mnemonic SMART created by Lauren Scheiper of Cognitive Connections (S-Strategies, M-Materials, A- Art, R- Resources/Reach Out, and T-Technologies) to determine needed materials. This helps with teaching planning skills. In addition, mnemonics are a good strategy for children with working memory difficulties.
Cognitive Connections Executive Functioning Prezi Presentation by Lauren Scheiper
Ward, S. February 2013. Top Ten Takaways: Mission Organization.