Learning and Sharing

Helping Students Develop Self-Talk

on February 16, 2014

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Self-regulation is established through internalized self-talk.  Self-talk precedes the development of planning and problem solving.  Many of the lunch buddies need us (the adults) to help them find the words to self-regulate.  We are providing models of self-talk scripts and making scripts visual.

Our resources include:


This wonderful curriculum gives us scripts that help students be flexible.  There is a Big Deal/Little Deal script that helps students distinguish between what is important and unimportant.  It also provides a strategy for changing a big deal into a little deal.  Two other scripts, Choice/No Choice and Handling the Unexpected are provided.


We also like  This site gives us instructional strategies to assist students with self-regulatory difficulties.  There are video illustrations for each script.  An example is the Ready/Not Ready script.

1.  Identify/label the issue (e.g., “I’m not sure that you’re ready”)

2.  State the reason (e.g. “You’re not ready because you don’t have…”)

3.  Offer a strategy (e.g. “I’ll know you’re ready when you…”)

4.  General reassurance (e.g. “Great; you look ready.  There’s always something that works, isn’t there?”)

We always want to consider a way of fading the external support over time.


Learning from the work of Sarah Ward ( is benefiting our students.  If you do a Google search of Sarah Ward Executive Functions, you will find several pdf documents of handouts from her presentations.  Here is a sample of a self-talk script that I created for one of our sweet girls who doesn’t know what to do to make positive things happen.  With some students, we have to teach/provide the script.


Ms. Ward instructs “Don’t cue to do-cue to know what to do”.


Visit Jennifer Hatfield’s store at and see her great Executive Functions Game Guide.  She has created suggested script to use as you play the game Sorry! with your child.


Check out her website for more executive function info.

I will be in school on President’s Day, will you?

My Best,


One response to “Helping Students Develop Self-Talk

  1. jillkuzma says:

    Hey there Robin…. hope you are doing well… I have a quick question for you – I want to pick your brain on something… will you shoot me an email? I can’t find your email address – I thought I had it somewhere because I know we have talked…. my email is: Thanks! J

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