Primary Chalkboard: Whole Brain
Showing posts with label Whole Brain. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Whole Brain. Show all posts

Executive Brain Function in the Primary Classroom

Friends~Executive Brain Function!  I know, I totally thought what in the world is that when I heard it the first time too!  But, as teachers we are masters of this and don't know it.  

Let's back up a bit. Many of you don't know that last school year,  I made a MAJOR change in my career and moved to a brand-new Brain Based charter school Bradford Preparatory School! (No building in place=pulling a wagon to school each day until our mobile units were placed on site after a month of school!)  Also, moved to first grade after 8 years in 2nd grade.  So a new school and new grade and a totally new out look on education! 

It was a CRAZY school year but it turned out to be the very best thing I have ever done!!!

Back to EF!  Once the school year ended,  I was asked to compile some information about Executive Function and what a Brain Based classroom looks like. I have spent my summer reading and meeting with one of the founder's of the school.  What did I discover?  I have been tapping into EF in my classroom for years and never knew it.  I just knew that certain things worked. 

Below is a great introduction video of what Executive Function is and how it relates to our primary classrooms.  
I love how this video talks about EF being like an air traffic controller in the brain.  When I watched this,  I totally began to have a different outlook on how students function in the classroom and how I should react to their behaviors.  

It is easy to see students that are struggling with behavior as making that "CHOICE" but truly much of it is about their delay in brain development. 

That is true for students struggling with learning concepts or staying organized.  Things that would drive me crazy like messy desks or forgetfulness,  I am finding are just delays in their EF development.  

So, exactly what is Executive Function? 
In a nutshell, EF is 
~Being able to focus, hold, and work with information in mind, filter distractions, and switch gears 
Not an easy task for many learners!

 How does it relate to our classrooms? 
 I am going to bullet the functions for you and also show how you are already helping to support EF in your classroom! 
~Goal Setting
~Planning & Strategizing
~Sequencing and Ordering
~Task Initiation
~Working Memory
~Time Management
~Task Persistence
~Emotional Regulation
Goal Setting: Hello??? Our Data Binders and Behavior Plans
Planning and Strategizing: Student Conferences Classroom Jobs and Morning Meeting
Sequencing and Ordering: Music/Chants, Visual Cards and Posters, Classroom Schedules, and Color Coded Groups
Task Initiation: Must Do Activities and Daily 5 Choice
Working Memory: Chants/Songs, Visuals, and Review
Time Management: Visuals, Timers, Posted Times, and a Predictable Schedule
Task Persistence: Routines and Class Pledges
Emotional Regulation: Behavior Expectations, Whole Brain Rules, Cool Down Areas, Character Ed, Brain Breaks and Fidgets

Below are some of the resources that I have been reading and watching to help you on your journey.  
I am totally not an expert but I am loving the new light EF is shining on me as a teacher. 


I sure hope this post gets you thinking about your students and how you are already doing AWESOME things in your classroom to support their Brain Development.  I also hope this post sparks your interest a bit and drives you to research ways that you can make your EF in your classroom even better.  (That is where I am at right now!)