Today I wanted to share some of ideas for how I’ve targeted executive functioning skills, and specifically skills like planning, self-awareness + self-monitoring, and even working memory. ?
If you’ve been around here for a while, you’ll know I love to embed this type of work into my language, literacy, and speech sound therapy. Language skills and executive functioning skills are intricately tied together. So to me, it makes sense to target them together using relevant, effective, and engaging activities related to what our students are expected to do in the classroom – aka activities you might already be doing in your therapy sessions!
In this email, I wanted to show 3 specific examples of how I incorporate EF skills into my language therapy activities by directly identifying a goal with my students, and then following clearly written steps to get to that goal.
? Sentence Combining
Goal: To make one sentence from two sentences.
This task requires significant executive functioning skills. For example, the student must be able to hold both sentences in their working memory while following the steps to combine the information from two sentences into one.
To give this activity an extra dose of EF, I might ask guiding questions like, “What step are you on?”, “What are you going to do next?”, or “Does that sentence make sense/sound good to you?”.
You can snag this visual/graphic organizer in my Systematic Sentence Combining resource.
? Complex Sentence Comprehension
Goal: Understand a long or difficult sentence.
Example Steps: Here’s a simple example…
And here is a more complex example of the instructions from my Complex Sentence Comprehension resource…
I use a few different activities to target complex sentence comprehension and all of them include simple plans to follow to work on this important language skill.
As you might have noticed, these steps can be followed to increase comprehension of any sentence your student might encounter.
To really dig deeper on EF skills with this task, give immediate feedback after step 4. If they got it right, how did they know which picture was correct and matched the sentence? If they got it incorrect, go back and figure out what they missed! This boosts self-awareness and self-monitoring skills.
That process is built into my Complex Sentence Comprehension resource as well! ✅
✍? Simple Sentence Writing
Goal: Write a sentence.
In my opinion, writing is one of the best activities to tie together with executive functioning skills. Not only does writing take a lot of EF skills, it’s also a critical skill for effective communication throughout your life.
You’ll notice in this example that the plan is very simple and includes visual supports. This process can be used with all students who are working on any goal area!
This printable (along with other writing activities) were added to my Searching for Home unit (and all future story units!).
By teaching tools like planning within our regular therapy activities, we can provide our students a structured and systematic approach to language learning, while simultaneously promoting executive functioning skills.
I hope this was helpful! Thanks for being here. ❤️