Parents and teachers, as an Executive Function coach, my students don’t like planners or planning. So how do I successfully teach them the skills of planning that they need? Check out this video to learn some of my tips for this.
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Video Transcript: Click here to download the transcript PDF.
Parents and teachers, if you want to help a student learn how to plan there are a lot of skills that they need to do. And what we do parents and teachers is we often give a kid a planner or calendar or an agenda and say “Use it.” Now kids with strong executive function, they will use it and pick up nuances and learn how to plan. But for kids who struggle with executive function, this is a nightmare. It doesn’t work. And what you have is you have kids saying “I don’t need a planner. Planners don’t work for me. I don’t like planners, I hate planners. I keep it in my head, I remember it. I don’t need your system,” but that they don’t understand that they do need a system of planning that they don’t have the skill sets, they don’t understand that it’s a skill set. All they understand is that their association with what has happened, what they call planning has not been pleasant. Okay, so we need to do is kindly, compassionately, empathetically, and patiently help these students learn this skill. So I’ve been doing this a long time.
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But one of the things I do is I teach them how to use calendars but I teach them how to do a daily plan. Why do these kids need to learn how to do a daily plan? They don’t have the skills yet. This is generally fifth grade through college and graduate school. So what I do is I teach them how to do this. And recently I had a student who is very resistant. All my students are resistant to planning, that’s part of what I do as an executive function coach is to help them work without resistance so that they can get the skills they need. And here’s exactly what I did with one of my students recently who was struggling with this and helping her figure out a system that worked for her. Teachers, this is called differentiation. Parents, differentiation means tailoring, personalizing, customizing, and making it appropriate for an individual. You know, parents and teachers that we often don’t do this for kids. Unfortunately, we do cookie-cutter solutions that do not work, especially for these kids. What the heck is going on? Who struggle with executive function.
What I do when I’m teaching planning is this may seem simple, but there’s a lot to this. So this is my Today’s Plan that I use with my students when people hire me to coach their kids. So I teach them to plan Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday or weekend, that’s simple enough for them to get the skills. I teach them to write their intention, this is not necessary. So I’m not going to go into that. I teach them first to get the goal, then the duration, then the time, then the order, here’s how it works. What’s the number one priority? Then what are three or four or five other skills for that day? That’s all I want them to work on because they can’t do everything, I have items for them to consider in a backburner box. But these are some items for them to consider here. And then after they get their goals written down, their tasks for the day, the evening after school is over. What do they need to do? How long will it take? These kids do not know how to estimate time effectively, realistically. So they have to practice estimating and seeing how their estimate is. What time do they intend to do it? And then what order will they do it in? This is called prioritization. These kids don’t have these skills of prioritization, they have to practice it people. I’m so sick of adults, like giving kids a planner and thinking they’re gonna like figure it out through osmosis, they need guidance. Okay, be kind, compassionate, empathetic and patient with these kids. So what’s the task? What’s your number one priority? And what are the other priorities for the night? How long will it take? What time you intend to do it? What order do you want to do it in? And these are some of the tasks to consider. And then this is the back burner. And they can ask other executive function was today. Well, recently, I had a student who did not like all of this, it was overwhelming. So I have to listen to the student and help them modify it for themselves. To personalize it, customize it, tailor it, differentiate it for them. So we spent 20 to 30 minutes, parents and teachers this stuff takes a long time, but you get a lot more traction when you’re patient with these kids. And we customized it and made her own plan that looks something like this. She wanted Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, she wanted the date, she wanted to put her main goal down, her intention. She just wanted the task in the order. She wanted the backburner and she wanted a little mantra, and I’ll do something good for me today. So we customized it just for her. We completely changed it. And we have to do this if we want to serve these kids. We have to think, what does this student need and work with them so that it’s collaborative so that there’s buy-in, so that there’s ownership. And so often we don’t get buy-in and ownership because we’re just telling them what to do and how to do it. We’re not asking what they think, and then they don’t get anywhere.
I just want to show you this real quick example. You know, when you’re working with a kid and you’re teaching them how to plan, you want to help them figure out a way that works for them. Kindly, compassionately, patiently with empathy and time and really listen to them so that they can be successful. Again, my name is Seth Perler. Give me a thumbs up, like, leave a comment, support me. If this helped you, go ahead and subscribe, be well. Take care.