All Kinds of News for July 06, 2016
This summer, every Chrysalis student will be enrolled in “Seeing My Time,” an executive functioning (EF) curriculum by Marydee Skylar. We offered the class last summer and it proved to be very successful. The profile for teens and adults that benefit from this class is as follows: poor time management, procrastination connected to starting work or projects, failure to meet deadlines, failure to plan ahead, over-scheduling and poor paper management. You may have read that list and felt that you would benefit from this course. The truth is that anyone and everyone would only gain from this class.
EF skills are located in the prefrontal cortex of the brain and aid in impulse control and productivity. These skills include task initiation, regulating emotion, organization, time management, planning and prioritizing, goal-directed persistence, flexibility, sustained attention, response inhibition, working memory and metacognition. In teenagers, emotional escalation clouds underlying executive function, making it difficult to tease out the ‘what’s what.’ When emotional regulation improves, executive function deficits are more noticeable, and can subsequently improve with applied tools.
Let us highlight two keys of the curriculum. First, working memory is the part of our brain that keeps track of information, like a notebook. This is a critical piece to EF as most people can track seven pieces of information at a time, and with age, this capacity decreases. Second, metacognition is being able to think about your thinking, which brings focus to the task at hand and an increase of self-awareness to behavior and emotions.
With these things in mind, it is important to remember that an individual’s brain is not fully developed until the age of 25, so organic struggles with ADHD on top of a brain in development is a challenge for many teens, parents, and teachers. Some of the tools acquired in this course include discovering learning styles, note taking skills, planning and executing assignments, prioritizing, seeing time as concrete, and using organizational tools such as a planner, binders, folders, and sticky notes.
Students will come to understand if they are a “DVD” (visual) or a “CD” (auditory) learner. To accompany this is a new note taking technique that involves drawing symbols rather than writing words. The brain remembers pictures, as a picture is worth a thousand words, rather than keeping up with a lecture. Not only will they learn about their own brain development, but they learn the skills necessary to support growth and learning for a lifetime. Tools are beneficial when we know which to use and when. We look forward to watching them access their tool belt throughout the summer and school year because they will be more equipped than ever before!