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Great Document

Have you seen this document: The Ontario Curriculum Unit Planner: Special Education Companion ?
It has definitions of different disabilities and classroom strategies and suggestions. A really helpful resource!

Did You Know That You Have Executive Skills?

I’m just finishing a book about executive functioning. Most people don’t go around using these terms but we all use and need the skill sets that they describe.
Executive functioning is the set of skills that allow a person to plan a task, figure out the steps involved, activate the best strategies for the task, stick to the task, inhibit impulsive behaviour, and change strategies if needed. It is our planning skills and our ability to control ourselves and figure out ways to get something done.
Executive functioning plays a huge role in the life of a student. Much of a child’s executive functioning skills have been inherited. Also important, are the child’s developmental level and environment.

How do you teach your child or student to develop these skills?  A great start is by modeling how you organize yourself and speaking aloud the ways in which you plan a task.  For example, I might explain aloud that we have to be at a birthday party by 4 p.m. so I work backwards and figure on a half hour driving time, so that is 3:30 p.m., a half hour “getting ready” time so that is 3 p.m.  I need to start getting ready at 3 p.m.  Explaining the steps you take to execute a task will promote executive functioning.  The next time there is a similar task, help your child go through the same steps. 

So often we get upset at our children or students for poor planning but this is NOT a strategy for improving these skills.  Try the modeling and thinking aloud strategy.  Walk your child through it several times before expecting independence.




Students that struggle are often not using the appropriate strategies – strategies that good students utilize naturally. I made this toolbox so that I could display the appropriate strategy for the given activity.

I want students to see that different activities require choosing a different strategy.


Kinesthetic Learning

Kinesthetic learning is learning that takes place while the student engages in a physical activity.
Kinesthetic learning seems easier to incorporate in the learning of younger children but it is still vital to many older learners. Adding hands-on activities will enhance any lesson.


Many adults or older students still need to have motion added to their learning – this can take unexpected forms. Motion can be added with gum chewing, pencil tapping, doodling, leg bouncing, walking, note taking, highlighting, role playing, or typing. Kinesthetic learners need activity breaks. Unfortunately, many times the need for activity and motion is treated as misbehaviour.

“Children enter kindergarten as kinesthetic and tactual learners, moving and touching everything as they learn. By second or third grade, some students have become visual learners. During the late elementary years some students, primarily females, become auditory learners. Yet, many adults, especially males, maintain kinesthetic and tactual strengths throughout their lives.”(Teaching Secondary Students Through Their Individual Learning Styles, Rita Stafford and Kenneth J. Dunn; Allyn and Bacon, 1993)

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