Monthly Tips

Each month, a Thinking Organized tip is emailed to our growing list of educators, parents and students who want to improve their executive functioning skills.

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Imagine That! Using Visualization to Improve Reading Comprehension

Have you ever seen a movie after reading the book and felt incongruence between the character on the screen and the one you had imagined? If so, take pride in your disappointment. It suggests that you have a strong ability to visualize, or create mental imagery as you read.

WHAT IS VISUALIZATION?
 
Visualization is a highly effective strategy to improve comprehension and retention of reading material. When your child learns to “see” the characters, setting, and actions within stories, they are more easily able to interpret and remember complex information. Through use of visualization, children become active in the reading process and can more effectively discuss and describe the text they’re reading.

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Erica MechlinskiImagine That! Using Visualization to Improve Reading Comprehension

Word Problems in Math

By Colette Hapi

For students with weaknesses in their executive functions, one of the hardest things about working through word problems in math is comprehending what exactly the problem is asking. Translating the words to numbers and equations can feel overwhelming, and the necessary steps that need to be taken often eludes these students, thereby rendering the task nearly impossible. However, the good news is that all hope is not lost. Even if your child is struggling to properly work through a word problem, there are steps that can be taken to facilitate the process. What follows is a list of steps that are meant to help your child decode word problems and figure out how to properly arrange the pieces of information that were provided into a viable formula. It is important to realize, though, that to really learn “how to do” word problems, a lot of practice is going to be required in order to master the skill.

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Erica MechlinskiWord Problems in Math

Reading Comprehension at Home

By Jennifer Sax 

Reading comprehension is a term we often hear teachers or other professionals use to talk about students’ understanding of what they read. But what exactly does that involve, and how can it be supported and improved?

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Erica MechlinskiReading Comprehension at Home

Learning by Touch: Tactile Learners

With over 7 billion humans walking on this Earth, it’s no surprise that each one of them has a unique way of learning and processing information. Some people learn best by listening to an oral lecture, while others grasp information when it’s presented in image form. But for some people, sitting still and being asked to retain information while remaining static can be difficult. These tactile or kinesthetic learners thrive when they are able to directly interact with the material they need to learn. By using their bodies, tactile learners absorb information in a hands-on way.

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Erica MechlinskiLearning by Touch: Tactile Learners

LEARNING AND LIMBIC

Executive functioning skills can be described as the ‘CEO’ of the brain. Just like an effective boss, executive skills are responsible for making decisions, planning, and managing information. Now imagine a boss who is feeling agitated, depressed, or enraged. In any of these situations, he will struggle to manage the demands of his job while his emotions are out of control, leading to unfinished tasks and a sense of frustration. In the same way, if a student has difficulty regulating emotions, his ability to perform executive functions will be compromised. This is especially true during adolescence, when brain development and hormonal changes cause emotions to heighten and fluctuate more dramatically. It is important to recognize that emotion and executive functions are not separate entities; in fact, they are intricately intertwined, especially when it comes to learning.

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Erica MechlinskiLEARNING AND LIMBIC

Executive Functioning Skills + New Year’s Resolution = Happy Child!

By Colette Leudeu Hapi

There is often a sense of excitement with the approach of a new year. This is the time to make resolutions about landing dream jobs, performing well in an academic semester, or taking better care of oneself. It is important to take advantage of such high levels of motivation because this is a perfect time to create realistic and manageable goals for the new year. For children with executive dysfunction, making New Year’s resolutions can empower them to change a behavior or develop a new skill while cultivating their ability to set and accomplish goals.
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Erica MechlinskiExecutive Functioning Skills + New Year’s Resolution = Happy Child!

Executive Functioning Tips for the Holidays

By Jennifer Sax
The holidays are a wonderful time to relax with friends and spend time with family. However, the holidays are also a time when to-do lists get longer, calendars are crowded, and managing everything can feel almost impossible. Keeping track of the times and dates of holiday parties, remembering your shopping list, finding time to clean the house, and recalling the ingredients for grandma’s famous casserole recipe are just a few of the tasks you will likely be faced with this holiday season. When life gets busy, as it inevitably will during the holiday season, a person’s executive functioning skills are put to the test.
So how can you manage all of this without becoming overwhelmed? Use these strategies to get ahead of the holiday hustle and bustle and make a plan to help everything feel more manageable.
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Erica MechlinskiExecutive Functioning Tips for the Holidays

How to Handle the College Application Process

By Kristin Backert

Becoming a mighty senior in high school is a rite of passage for thousands of students every year. No longer are they on the bottom of the food chain; instead, the younger students look to them for guidance. Amidst this newfound sense of power, though, high school seniors find themselves faced with a challenge unlike any other: the college application process. This can be a daunting task, as students are asked to consider what potential path their future should take. However, this process does not have to be stressful if students approach it with a plan.
Here are some tips to help you and your child successfully manage this exciting time in their lives.

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Erica MechlinskiHow to Handle the College Application Process

How to Manage Academic and Personal Obligations

By Kristin Backert

 

Between school, work, and social obligations, everyone has a busy schedule. It seems that we’re always running from one thing to the next, or we’re always finding ourselves tasked with new projects.
For children with executive dysfunction, managing their academic and personal obligations can feel like an impossible task. Often times they don’t realize the importance of recording homework, which causes them to forget about assignments. Other times they don’t realize that they have an essay due the same weekend that they are out of town, which prevents them from budgeting their time appropriately to complete their work.
Happily, there are several methods to help them learn to record and track all of their responsibilities.

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Erica MechlinskiHow to Manage Academic and Personal Obligations

Goal Setting Before School

The beginning of the school year elicits sighs of nostalgia from many parents. Clean, bright notebooks, sharpened pencils, and new clothes all signify the onset of an exciting unknown – the time to launch a fresh start. Before school begins is the perfect time to solidify goals for the upcoming academic year for both parents and children.
Here are a few step-by-step instructions to help your child buy into the concept of goal setting and establish specific, manageable objectives.

 

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Erica MechlinskiGoal Setting Before School