Some kids really struggle with executive functioning skills. There are a lot of pieces to this particular puzzle and it can be really hard to fit all these pieces together. This week, I decided to try to tackle one more of those pieces – getting a student to settle into class and get started.
I thought I had this issue pretty well figured out. I have a structure to every class and stick pretty closely to the broad outlines of this structure. Hence, kids have the same set of three of four things to do at the start of each class period. I have the daily agenda posted on the whiteboard in the front of the class. I verbally remind kids what they need to do when they arrive. After redirecting a particular student ten times in the first five minutes on a regular basis, though, I decided that I have a little more work to do here.
Since this particular student was having so much difficulty getting settled into class each day, I decided to create a checklist for him of the things that he needs to do in the first few minutes after he arrives. I didn’t want to stigmatize him, though, so I created a class set of the checklist. I laminated them and then put one on each desk in the classroom. The checklists can serve as a reminder for everyone and the student who needs the checklist doesn’t have to be any different than anyone else.
I started using the checklist yesterday. I don’t know how well it is going to work in the long term, but it was great for yesterday. Every one used it. I didn’t have to redirect a single student. A small victory, at least for one day.