Today I have the pleasure of sitting in on a colleague’s “Lunch ‘n Learn” around Visual Aids for Executive Functioning in the primary grades. So here I am…live blogging this sharing experience!
She (the teacher) started the session off with explaining and giving us an overview of why and how she wanted to research and implement executive functioning skills/techniques, and how she became to begin her “prototype” for specific students in her class.
She explained how this was a process of learning and implementation for both her and students. The areas which she identified as “needs” in her specific grade level one, were the following:
- Locker Routine
- Transition time- planning ahead
- Forgetting things at school
I should mention here, at this time, that her (the teacher’s) presence and enthusiasm of this research and her work is noted and appreciated by the audience which include both colleagues of varying grade levels, and administration. We’re all engaged and learning! WOW! What a great job she has done!
So how was she going to achieve enhancing these three identified topics? Prototyping!
Her first step was to create an interactive velcro strip on student’s lockers and then used that first idea as a springboard for a few more varying formats, depending on the students’ personalization and needs. Through a powerpoint and a handout, she was able to display and show artifacts of her trials, wins, and her growth in this process and journey. We also learn here that she has now also worked with a higher grade to bridge the same concepts for older students. For more info on that, check this out!
Now the group has opened up for further discussion around how these ideas and concepts can help during instructional lessons, follow the exact same type of steps, and giving linear visuals and are concrete steps to follow. Comments and positive talk around what a supportive and helpful experience this could be for multiple students in different grades and even topics. Suggestions arise, such as in Language Arts: writing steps, organizing information steps, first, second, then, and finally prompts.
Oh, a take away! I LOVE takeaways! The teacher used a website called connectability to curate and search proper images from clip art that she eventually used as a visual guidance system for her students to help lay out their day! Very cool!
Now we’re on to talk about next steps and how to gather, attain, and use data to then enhance or use this data in the prototype cycle. How can this happen? How would this support the strength of the prototype. Her success criteria for data collection at the beginning was the following: the first month: verbal and visual prompts by quantity of how much is required by the student and then gathering data into how less and less this was required by said student.
Moving on to the prototype framework; we are now having a very meaningful conversation around the “Now what?” Now that this is a tangible useful tool…where does it land now? As teachers, how do we amplify this tool and learning outward, globally, and ultimately perhaps, with encouragement; publishing. Publishing for access and research by other bodies, institutions and schools to find, use, and implement. WOW! What a thought! We can do it! Could my colleague have an idea and prototype that is and will be searched and used by other schools and teachers? YES! Incredible possibilities!
A great conversation that has just popped up is about sharing the learning and pushing outwards, and having confidence to put your ideas out there. Finding your style and how it works for you. Once you begin with the first step forward, the nerves and overwhelming feelings of beginning and documenting for yourself and others falls into place.
The teachers and administration here in this amazing lunch and learn, are all talking so collaboratively and supportively of each other to calm with others worries, and anxieties, and misconceptions of what, why, how, and why not, and now what into place.
….and just like that, it’s over so quickly and we’re back to class.
A BIG thank you to my colleague for opening up and sharing her journey with all of us!
Looking forward to the next lunch n’ learn and live blogging opportunity, it went by quickly, but it was so jammed pack with information and fun!