Friday, September 5, 2014

Terese Jurgensen, September 4, 2014

Terese Jurgensen (Mrs. J.)
Principal 2-6; 
Director of Special Education
Student Success at Crestwood Elementary!

One of my favorite quotes by the "guru" of positive behavior supports, Dr. Ross Greene is, "They would if they could." At Crestwood Schools we believe that all students are created for something great, for a purpose. We also believe that all children can learn at high levels. It is our job as educators, to provide the environment and learning supports to make that happen for all of our students. As a part of the Crestwood family/community I am excited to share strategies and supports for executive functioning for our students!

What is Executive Functioning?

As humans, our brains continue to develop and mature until we are about 25 years old. The frontal lobe (which separates humans from all other living creatures) is the part of our brain that allows us the ability to develop and maintain goal-directed behavior. They are a set of cognitive skills that regulate and control other behaviors, our ability to think, problem solve and plan for the future. They include our ability to:

These are the skills that allow for student success in school and in life!

Students come to school from all walks of life, learning styles, cultures and socio-economic backgrounds. Each student is unique to himself/herself and each of them have their own unique brain. Our brains are impacted by every part of our being and every one of our life experiences. Because of this, some students are better prepared to learn than others.

We all know these kids. Some cannot sit still, others are impulsive and some can't read well because of the impact executive functioning skills (or lagging skills) have on their brains. Some people may say they are "lazy," "unmotivated," or even "stupid." These students might be regularly seen in the principal's office or in detention for "forgetting" their homework. At Crestwood Elementary School we are implementing Executive Functioning strategies and supports with our students, especially those with unique learning styles!

As I look at our student-centered classrooms, unique teaching styles, and student support services, I am really excited about all of the supports we naturally have in place! Here is one example of helping students stay focused and maintain attention. Instead of saying something like, "Pay Attention!" Here is what is happening in Kelly Sorenson's Classroom!

5th Grade Angels!

Executive Functioning Impacts Reading Ability!

Having our students understand and to read accurately/fluently, is one of our top priorities at Crestwood Community Schools. We want our students to love reading! It is a scientific fact that our students' ability to read well is greatly impacted by their executive functioning skills and conversely, not read well, with the executive functioning deficits they may experience. Our brains need to be able to organize material, hold the information for periods of time, focus/pay attention, and see the big picture in order to read well. Consider a 3rd grader who has trouble paying attention/focusing and then put a "High Stakes" test in front of him, a bubble sheet and a pencil in his hand and see how well he does! 

Here is the good news! We can put strategies, supports, and create environments for our students to support their frontal lobe (executive functioning skills) and strengthen these areas of their brains during these critical years of development to support positive behaviors and increase student learning. There is so much information about executive functioning. Some good websites to check out are:

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