Learning and Sharing

What We’ve Been Up To…

on February 9, 2014

Diverse Circle Of Colorful People Holding Hands, Symbolizing Teamwork, Friendship, Support And Unity Clipart Illustration Graphic

We are working toward a paradigm shift at my school.  We are using words such as executive dysfunction, working memory, and social thinking.  We are discussing, for example, how a student may know all his spelling words one day, yet be unable to spell a single word the next day.  This student may have been accused of having a “selective memory”, when in reality the problem is not related to selection but to storage and retrieval.  We are discussing impulse control,  self-regulation and making connections between words and actions.  When classic behavior modification strategies to modify behavior do not work, we, the adults, must make a better plan.  We need to externalize the cues that are proving to be internally weak.

The students in the lunch buddies social skills groups often struggle in their classrooms with organization and self-regulation.  When executive function breaks down, behavior becomes poorly controlled and social relationships can be affected.

Here’s what we are doing to help…


Visuals such as this Keep Working! social story help students understand what behaviors look like.  What does “pay attention” look like?  What does “working hard” look like?  The photos and words in this story are external cues to lead to “self-talk”.   The Watson Institute offers this and many more social stories as free downloads.  One great feature of these stories is that they are done as a Word document that you can tweak to personalize.  Check out

We are helping our students develop a “sense” of time.  It is important for them to “see” time.  When we preview an activity we predict how much time we think we need to get it done.  Then we compare our prediction with how much time it actually took to complete.




Working memory is essential to helping students to be present and mindful in the classroom.  I found some activities and exercises to help build working memory at  Visit the sight and review the science to see if it might be something that would work for your students.


These are confrontational naming exercises from the Working Memory, Hemisphere Integration & Attention Building Activities for Optimal Learning by Dr. Erica Warren.

Check back later in the week to read about how we are helping our students to further develop “self-talk”, impulse control and ignoring distractions.

My Best,


3 responses to “What We’ve Been Up To…

  1. Tracy Scott says:

    Great blog! Love it!

  2. Lydia Scher says:

    I love this information and commentary on paradigm shift. As many more of us are actively moving towards this conceptualization of student learning and functioning, I would love to see what others might be doing, and of course more posts from Robin and her work! Thanks for the great information!

  3. Jennifer says:

    I wanted to know if I could reuse some of your content. Please contact me.

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