We expect students to have executive function skills, yet, they are rarely explicitly taught in the classroom. Many of our students with learning differences and attentional difficulties experience issues with starting, maintaining focus, and finishing tasks. Using Dr. Thomas Brown's model of executive function, Todd Hanson from the Groves Academy will explore the processes and tools available to help in each of the areas of activation, focus, effort, emotion, memory and action.
- [Host] Good afternoon. Welcome to the CTD webinar, technologies and strategies to help students start, focus, and finish strong. We are pleased to welcome Todd Hanson, director of technology and AT coordinator at Groves Academy in Minnesota. Executive function is an umbrella term for cognitive processes that regulate control and manage mental skills. We expect students to have these skills yet they are really explicitly taught in a classroom. This presentation will explore the process and tools available to help in each of the areas of activation, focus, effort, emotion, memory, and action. I'm gonna go ahead and pass it off to Todd. Thanks.
- [Todd] Very good. Thank you. Welcome, everyone. Thank you to CTD for giving me the opportunity to present today. We're talking a lot about executive function in the world of academics today, and it's really an important topic. I work at a school called Groves Academy. We're in Saint Louis Park, Minnesota, and we're a school for students with learning disabilities and attentional disorders, so we have a lot of opportunities to work with and try to help students develop these executive functions. A lot of times, I find people are perhaps a little bit confused, or we have different definitions, so I pulled together a couple of definitions on executive function.
This one is from LD OnLine. You'll notice it talks about managing one's self, mental control and self-regulation. This one is from a book by Richard Guare. I like the way that he says that there are brain-based skills required for humans to effectively execute or perform tasks and solve problems, so we're talking about not the skills but how to execute, how to use the skills, and then he also says executive skills are in fact what your teenager needs to make any of your hopes and dreams for her future, or her hopes and dreams come true.
In his book, Smart but Scattered Teens, I recommend it. It's a great book if you haven't read it. We're really talking to the parents. It's also about how do we help them become independent, and I look at it as how do we get from point A to point, hitting B and C along the way. So we don't want to skip steps, we don't want to miss opportunities but we do need to get from the starting point to the finish point. Now as we move along, there are different things, what are the executive functions, and depending on who you ask, here is four different versions of the idea of executive functions. The important idea is how do we interact with our surroundings, how do we monitor what we're doing, how do we get started, how do we shift from one task to another, how do we remember.
All of these pieces go into those executive functions. The interesting thing is we quite often think of the frontal lobe as where our executive functions lie but it really pulls in a lot of different places, different parts of the brain, and the frontal lobe is really kind of our conductor. It's what keeps the train moving or keeps the train on the track, I suppose we could say. As we develop our executive functions, it's not through teaching as in this is how you do it explanation but it's really about interacting with the world. That's going to be our best method for developing the executive function. They say that it takes about 10 years to become an expert, so we really need to practice. It used to be that we would think executive functions were developed or at least taking root by the time a child was seven to 10 years old. Now we're finding that self-regulation can be upwards of 25 years of age before it is fully developed. That leads to some of the risky behavior, the risk-taking behavior we have in teenagers, young adults. The idea of self-regulation may not be fully developed. And as you can kind of see in what this red line, those of us that are taking care of older parents see that there can be a decrease in executive function as we reach that older age.
Today, I've chosen to use Thomas Brown's model of executive function to really guide us through these techniques, these strategies, and these tools to help students overcome executive function difficulties, and to help them develop the executive function pieces that they need. Thomas Brown looks at six different pieces. The first is activation. Second is focus. The third is effort. The fourth is emotion. The fifth is memory, and the sixth is action. Now in the boxes below, you can actually see what that means. For instance, activation is about organizing, prioritizing, and activating to work, getting started. So many of our students have a real trouble, a real difficulty getting going.
Once they're going, quite often they can just kinda rock and roll but finding that way to get started is really tough. It may look like procrastination, it may look like a difficulty problem-solving. It isn't always those things. These are the six different areas that we're going to look at as we move through this next set of minutes. Some of the issues we have with executive function is that quite often, we don't explicitly teach these skills in the classroom. There are some students that just through being in the classroom, they will pick up the study skills, they will pick up the processes necessary to write a paper, they will understand what they need to get started on their homework. As they're leaving the building, they have everything they need. They get home. Things go swimmingly.
Unfortunately, we have a lot of our students, and I feel that I'm seeing more and more of our students really struggle, and that there are a lot of different executive function landmines thrown in throughout the day. It could be working with others, it could be how do I participate in a discussion, how do I study, how do I research. All of those different pieces have a different set of executive functions that are going to be important for the student to have. Often, we make assumptions. We have students at Groves that everything is in its proper place and so neat and so organized yet time after time, we can watch that student struggle.
Parents that are listening, you get that missing homework report, and you go, "I know that he did that last night," so we think that finished is turned in. We love planners, and we write in planners, and we make sure the teachers and parents' initial, and there's kind of that assumption that if it's written in the planner, it's going to be done. Sometimes their assumptions are not quite as positive, and we start to assume that he doesn't care at all, he's so lazy, scattered, defiant. Quite often, those come from positive assumptions that aren't met. We assume that a student can do this task because, in our minds or for even maybe most or the rest of the class, it's a very simple step-by-step assignment. It may not be as simple or it may not be as clear.
So a lot of times, our positive assumptions, if they're not met, we can start to swing to those negative assumptions, and we want to really be careful about that because one of the things that we need to really do to help our students, especially the ones with executive function difficulties is to be patient and not judgmental. So those two things are sometimes the most difficult because our EF kiddos can really drive us nuts sometimes. It just seems like this ought to be as clear as day. And over and over, they get stuck, or they just can't quite get it started. Some other ways we can help is we can build a consistent routine. That is really, really helpful, and I know especially in our lower school, the teachers quite often have this day that is very much like the day before, which was very much like the day before that. Building that consistent routine can help the students see how the day will flow, and get a feel for the workings of the day. We want to teach and we want to model our organizational skills and work skills.
Oftentimes if we're, say, working on an interactive whiteboard, or we've got something projected up on the screen, we just quickly snap right on through, and pull up a file. That may be a great teachable moment to, as you're floating through your digital workspace, to say, "This is how I organized this. "This is why this is in this folder, "and this is in this folder, "and quite often, I have to say "that my organizational system "has not scaled the way that I wanted to, "so I have far more folders than I really need "or far more folders than I really want." Lastly, we want to find tools and strategies that are gonna make the difference in all six of these executive function areas. When our students don't have the executive functions that they need, when the students struggle in certain areas, quite often, we need to be that orchestrator, we need to be that conductor. Someone was talking about being a surrogate frontal lobe, so there I am sitting in the frontal lobe.
It's an odd thought but making external the things that we want to put internal, and vocalizing them, and modeling them can be a really, really helpful piece to our students. Talk about making external versions of internal processes, systems, and monitors. This was a whiteboard that was out in the hallway. For a while, we had a post-secondary program where we worked mostly with freshmen and sophomores in college in the area. And this was out in the hallway because as they come in, they get tutoring help, they get organizational help. This was something that kept coming back and back and back, how do I write a paper, how do I get from this is my assignment to here it is.
Four and five days in advance minimum, read and highlight, brainstorm, outline, and they tossed some tools in there for outlining. It can be inspiration, brainstorming inspiration, create a rough draft, first revision, second draft, final proof, final finished paper, and then I like the way a student at the bottom wrote celebrate. It's important to celebrate these things. When we get done, we got to give ourselves a pat on the back whether that's a bowl of ice cream or a fun sticker. Whatever way you celebrate, that's fantastic. One of the things I think they're missing here though is turn in the paper. That should be right between finished paper and celebrate because again, finished doesn't mean turned in. When I was in the math classroom, my rule was you had to be able to find an assignment from the current chapter within two minutes, or we sat down and we had a meeting about your organization.
I had a young man named Ian who carried this bag that was only slightly shy of a body bag, and I don't know how he did it but somehow he had known, if there's something in that bag, he was able to find things. He had a system that worked. It wasn't my system, and I never understood it, but it was a system that worked for him. So as long as it worked for him, I let him use it. This was, you can see, a few years ago, our middle school does an experts project where the students become experts in some topic, and it's a very well-laid-out, very well-laid-out project. Everything is in its place. And this was on every classroom doorway, a calendar to go through. This is what we should be working on. Now they actually quit using this. It was a fantastic way to lay it out. The students knew what was coming up. But they stopped using this for a couple of reasons. One was that it was too much.
Many students became overwhelmed with it looking at this month, this five weeks of something to do every day. It was just a little overwhelming for them, and the whole idea just kind of caused their emotions to be on edge. The second reason is that as we know in the classroom, planning for a month in advance is a really nice idea but it doesn't always work, and you sometimes get offtrack here or offtrack there. These are examples of cue cards that a couple of our teachers use. They were just notecards. Now they could be digital at this point. They were just notecards, and front side, back side, tips for doing homework. The second one is presenting to a group. These are great. You can put them on a ring. The students can keep them in a notebook. It helps them work their way through, and helps to ask the question, what do I do next.
And lastly, this is one of our lower school classrooms, at the door, they have today in science you'll need, and then in the classroom on the whiteboard, there is kind of an overview of the whole day. Projected up on the screen is instructions for the current task. Now you'll notice that some of the students are wearing headphones. Most of them are working on computers. This was a day I was in helping them use a program called Snap and Read to help them do research and collect information for their taste of nations project.
And lastly, I give you an example of a web-based. This is a writing navigator. This is something I stumbled upon a little while ago, and I really like it because it is a very concrete, step-by-step-by-step through the writing process. Now those of you that are writing teachers and maybe teaching the higher grades, you may cringe a little bit because this does not give the most eloquently written paper or the most creative draft but for our kids that get stuck, this is a fantastic way to help them say, "Okay, this is what it means to plan. "This is how I write a draft. "This is how I revise. "This is how I get it ready to turn in." Okay. Kind of the first overview there, and I saw that Ana Maria put in the chat that if you have questions, please, please post them. I'm trying to keep one eye, so it's something. If you have an idea or a question or a comment, I'd love to hear it. That's our way that we can interact through this webinar.
So we're back to Thomas Brown's model. We want to talk first about activation. We're gonna talk a lot about activation. And the way I have this set up is that there is going to be some process questions, and these questions are just as important as the tools because the tools may change but the process questions can help me no matter what tools or what piece I'm using. So process questions like what's it gonna take to finish this project, or what barriers are going to get in my way. All of these things are hard for our students, so we may have to give them lists. This is what it's going to take. Tools such as color-coding. These are times when we will take and have the students do binders that are color-coded, and through that color-coding, perhaps a schedule in the locker that each one is highlighted with a specific color, so I'm putting away yellow, which may be a science. I look at my locker.
Blue is the next line, so I'm gonna grab everything that's blue. It's gonna help me have everything that I need, and then a set of duplicate materials at home if you got textbooks and things. I know we love to have the kiddos bring 'em home but sometimes picking our battles, just sending an extra set of textbooks home is enough. Now it used to be that we had to have our notebooks with three ring binders with tabs in them, and we kept everything in the proper tab, or maybe we use folders, or maybe we had a different binder or a different notebook for every class. Now we're working in a digital environment, and we want to do something similar. It seems easier but in some cases, it's more difficult, but it's certainly as important. On the left, you see something that our middle school is very good about, specifically setting up processes, and they take each of their advisories, and they go through and set up each of their classes.
They create a year, and they go through and create all the different classes in the folders. Now what I was excited about is on the right is one of our upper schoolers that has come through the middle school, and you'll notice they've kept the same process. They found that it works, and so, by modeling in the middle school, they were able to gain those skills as they moved to the upper school. Cloud-based storage is similar to duplicated materials. So those of you that are using all the Google school tools, Google Drive, and all that sort of things, that's fantastic because whenever the student goes home, should they have forgotten something, they can pull that up there. A lot of the LMS systems really help our executive function kids.
Sorry, I just peeked over, and this is the hard part of doing two things at one time. Many of the duplicate materials, being able to use the LMS to work our way through. We'll talk about some of the difficulties as we progress with us as teachers always providing the information. Notes from lecture, keeping that organized. Very important. I love the idea of Cornell Notes. This is one I recommend, having details, main ideas, and keeping the left page if you're right-handed, or the right page if you're left-handed open for you to noodle, for you to think your way through, for you to ask yourselves questions. One of the things I feel like we don't do enough of is take the time to think our way through, to actually ponder.
Quite often, our kids are so busy that they don't take time to, I call it time to noodle, just to read or to review lectures, and then to say, "Hmm, what did I learn? "Where is that going to take me?" I wish I could find the resource but I either read or heard quite a while ago that if you review your notes from a lecture, within 24 hours, you have a 60% increase in retention. When I'm working with high school and college-aged kids, this is something that I really stress, that you have to review your notes. It's not about being a transcription service for the lecturer, it's about being interactive with the lecturer, it's about being engaged with the lecturer using tools like Livescribe pen or Audio Notetaker or Notability, Evernote, OneNote to record as that safety net so that you can be listening, and then go back and review. You're gonna remember so much more.
And then collecting from text. This is probably the hardest one. This is one that is really let's do it together, and it needs to be let's do it together quite often for quite a while. Teaching students to pick out what was important. So often you buy a used textbook, and everything is yellow 'cause everything was important. Well, we want to pull through, and we want to be able to find what is really important. Some of the tools that I really like for collecting notes and organizations, my favorite is really OneNote. Evernote is very similar. Snap and Read is a product by Don Johnston that is excellent for web research, Read&Write for Google, and then when I started to play with this Google Keep, best way to describe that is a blank wall with sticky notes that you can sort.
It really works well as long as you tag your notes, so that you can search them, and then truly, there is nothing wrong with notecards or sticky notes. There is nothing wrong with paper. As we go through. Tara? Tara, just type something in the chat. That aerobic exercise, yep. And I'm gonna get to that when we start talking about emotion, but you are right. Walking, dancing, aerobic exercise, that is so important with retention. Time and task management is really hard. I've had this discussion recently with a student, paper versus the electronic. They like the feel of paper, they like being able to write things down, they like that process but they forget to look, and so, what we want to do is we want to find maybe some kind of balance between a paper, planner, and electronic reminders, and maybe those electronic reminders are just did you check your planner. A reminder, at the end of the school day, when you typically start your homework or after a class, did you check your planner? That can be all it needs.
With electronic calendars, I really like that because I can use color, and it's very visual. Visual, to me, is important. Some people don't find that, and they would rather have a list, they would rather have a to-do list, or they would rather have just something in black and white. Whether it's a calendar or an academic manager, we need to find something that our students will use. And quite often, what we see is that the student doesn't quite know how to get started, so as teachers or as parents, we need to really model and sit down with them so that it's like, "Okay, this is how we're going to do it," and maybe it starts in the summer, and it's just about keeping track of a work schedule, or maybe it's just about keeping track of sporting activities, athletics.
What we want to be able to do though is we want to be able to use false deadlines. We want to take the larger piece, and we want to break it into smaller pieces. Giving each one its own due date really helps because it keeps the project on track, it provides success along the way 'cause we can tick off these different ideas, and all of that reduces the stress. Think back to that calendar for the experts project. It was laid out day-by-day-by-day, and so, students could cross each activity or each task off, and giving 'em a sense of accomplishment. We want to scaffold these assignments, or we want to scaffold everything that we're doing with these students. We don't want to start out with high stakes, we want to start out with something that's really kind of low level. That's why I suggest calendaring something in the summer where if it goes awry, it's not gonna cause a problem.
Every once in a while, I run into someone that wants to start using assisted technology on a high-stakes task, and it sometimes works well, but typically not having used it, not having built up that process, it becomes very difficult. Breaking down the assignments, the idea of false deadlines, and then celebrating the little victories. Let me demonstrate this to you. That may take multiple times to actually demonstrate so that the student understands the process. Let's do it together, then you do this part by yourself. I'm just not gonna do this last little bit. We'll do everything up to the end, slowly removing your assistance or removing the helps until they can do it on their own. One story is a young man who dad was so excited because he was writing down all the checks in checkbook. He still wasn't balancing it. And so, there still were times when there wasn't any money but at least he was writing down all the checks, so celebrating those little victories. Okay.
Focus, sustaining, shifting, attention to tasks. This is hard for our ADD kids, and there is a few things that we can do to help keep them focused. The last question in that process question, what am I doing, and what am I supposed to be doing is probably the biggest one, and the one I use when I catch our students out in the hallway maybe squirreling around a little bit. What are you doing? What are you supposed to be doing? If they're the same, keep at it. If not, let's make a different decision. Space, tasks, scheduling, and finding some way to motivate can be really important. Study space is important. The one on the left obviously is our goal. We have spaces to put up lists, we have spaces to keep things organized. I like that the computer is on a separate desk, so it is not quite as easily accessible. I actually have to turn to use the computer. And people will argue with me. I like there are not windows. I love outside light but sometimes it gets to be a real distraction.
So this, it's simple, it's a very clean, very organized space. We need to do the same thing with our virtual study space. We need to keep it clean, we need to try and take the distractions out of it. When I talk to a student, and I say, "What is it that you need to put away," they know. "I need to put away my phone." Easier said than done. There are some tools. These are just some of 'em that the student can use to keep them focused. Some of them have very extreme, very extreme message, so it's like it locks everything, and so, you can't get out. Some of them allow you to say, "I'm going to just block social media. "I'm just going to block certain sites." What we need to start getting our kids to be thinking about how do I prevent myself from getting pulled away by all these other pieces in our virtual space. To-do lists are great.
Again, Google Keep, ToDoist, Priority Matrix, Remember the Milk, those are just some of them that are out there. The idea is how do we give our students a list so that they can go, "Oh yeah, now I remember," because we're talking about getting them going, we're talking about keeping them on track and on task. One of the things we talk about or we like to talk about is multi-tasking, and what I'm reading is that it doesn't exist. We can't multi-task, we can only task-switch, and the way I describe this is if I'm driving down the road, and I see a stop sign up ahead as I'm having a conversation with the person in the passenger seat, I don't need to stop that conversation to take my foot off the gas, slowly put on the brake, and stop at that stop sign. However, if I'm driving down a road, and having that same conversation, and all of a sudden, a soccer ball rolls out in front of me, that conversation is going to stop, and I'm probably going to forget what we were talking about because my attention will be drawn to that soccer ball, and my foot will be on the brake.
Depending on how automatic the tasks are, it will seem like we're multi-tasking. We're not, we're task-switching, and every time we switch, we lose some cognitive steam, so we want to get our kids to work on one thing at a time. That's where to-do lists can be very, very helpful. Our effort, it's hard to give tools to, but it isn't hard, wants to convince them to take breaks. The how am I doing/feeling right now, is there anything that's pulling me down, what can I get out of my way so that I have the energy, the cognitive process to do what I need to do. There are some really cool motivational tools. You can motivate with time, with screen time. You can motivate with video game time. There is a lot of different motivations we can use as parents. There are some motivations that we can use as teachers as well, rewards.
There are tools, if you've ever heard of Written? Kitten!, it is a website that requires you to write, and as you are writing, after you've written your first 200 words, you get a picture of a kitten. And every 100 words thereafter, you get a piece of a kitten. Positive rewards for writing. It's fun. You can pick. You can look at dogs or horses or whatever you want, so that motivation. Write or Die takes the other opportunity, and it is negative. It says, "You are going to write, "and you are not gonna stop writing "in X number of minutes or moments," and if you stop writing for a certain amount of time, things start to flash red. If you stop longer, noises. And then you can actually turn on an option that if you stop writing long enough, it starts to erase random words. This is just too much pressure for me. I prefer Written? Kitten!
There is another one, Peer Pressure, where you're kind of posting out to your peers. It's kind of a social media keep me accountable. Timers and scheduled breaks, this is one that we talk about a lot. This is so important. So often, our kids will really just grab onto it, and it's like, "I'm gonna get this done, "and I'm gonna move. "I'm not gonna quit," but they found that having short breaks actually sustains our attention. Longer break allows us to recharge. There's something called the Pomodoro Technique, which is great. In its simplest form, it's a matter of amount of time on, and then a short break, and amount of time on, and a short break. Do that three or four times, and then you take a longer break. Typically, it's 25, and then a 15 to 30-minute break for a longer break.
In its more detailed form, it starts to cause us and our students to think about okay, what can I accomplish in 25 minutes, what is the most important task for me to do in this next 25 minutes, and how can I set that up for success at the end of that 25 minutes. Time Timer, Focus Booster, 30/30. I really like 30/30. That's a great timer that allows me to do some prioritizing. Or Time Doser. Music, fidget balls or fidgets, balance balls, exercise, meditation/mindfulness, and yoga can all help with emotion. These internal questions, how am I feeling right now, is there anything that I can deal with and take off my plate, did I have an argument with my mom that I need to talk to her about it, so I want to make it so that I'm not feeling bad about that.
Music can soothe and can moderate emotions. Where we struggle with this is that as we let students use music in class, sometimes they spend more time trying to be DJ than they do actually working, so this is a hard one, and so, this is one where the students need to really understand why it exists, and why you're using music. In some classes, the teacher chooses the music. Fidgets and balance balls. The balance balls are going a little bit about out of vogue. We actually have some little round. They almost look like large hockey pucks that can sit on chairs, and allow the students to move, and they won't roll across the floor, but it's fun to see a classroom of students that are totally engaged in what's going on whether it be reading or whether it be an activity, but they're still kinda moving back and forth, and you can tell that that movement is just kinda soothing, and taking away some of that extra energy.
A note about fidgets, fidgets should not be obvious. If the world around me knows that I am using a fidget, then it's a toy and not a fidget, and perhaps I'm talking more tofidget spinners. We've had some interesting conversations about fidget spinners. Exercise, mindfulness, and yoga. Like Tara said earlier, it is so important. The longer breaks, if you're using the Pomodoro Technique, the longer breaks, to me, are times to go out and get fresh air, are times to move, are times not to just spend an extra 15 minutes on social media. There are so many studies that are coming out talking about the importance of nature, the importance of this downtime, the importance of exercise with retention, with cognitive energy, with all of the pieces that we want our kids to have. So finding a way to give our kids time to take a breath, and to unwind, and like I say, to noodle and figure out what is it that I'm learning, what is it that I'm hearing, what is it that I'm reading, and be able to respond to that.
There is a cool app. It's an iOS app, or it's on the web. It's called UnStuck, and I actually showed it to one of our school psychologists. I don't know how much science goes through this. It's about picking cards, and about saying this is kind of me right now, and this is the kind of stuck I am, or this is what's happening, or this is how I'm feeling. But he went through it pretending he was someone that he had recently spoken to, and he said it came back with a number of suggestions that he had given this young man, and so, that kinda gave this a little more weight in my mind. So memory as we move through. This is a tough one. A lot of this has to do with rehearsal.
A lot of this has to do with good study skills, and being able to pick out what is important, so I'm not trying to memorize chapter seven in the biology text. This is where we need to scaffold. This may be a matter of giving full notes for a while. This may be a matter of giving fill-in-the-blank notes. This may be a matter of just giving a lighter outline, and then turning it over to the student to work their way through. One of the things we talk about at Groves is we talk about active reading. We ask the students to pre-read. We ask the students to go through, and say how many pages is it, what is it about, do you have any background knowledge in this concept or this idea. Then they go through and read, and sometimes they read, highlight, chunk all in one piece, or sometimes they'll go through, and they'll do a quick reading at first, and then they'll go back and do a closer reading. Again, highlighting, annotating, chunking, and then summarizing, what is it that I just read, what happened in the story, where is this plot going, what do I think is gonna happen next, all of those things help our students to interact with the text because that's really what we want them to do.
The idea of I've read it, close the book, I'm done, that one in done so rarely works. We want them to interact. We want them to be part of and dig into the text. SQ3R is another way to go through, survey, question, read, review, and recite. How do we learn this? We've all done flashcards. I like this one because this is talking about flashcards but using pictures. The more we can be visual, the better off we can be. Most students that I talk to have used or do use Quizlet. Quizlet is a fantastic tool, and they keep making it better and better. I just saw today that teachers can now record their own voices, and put it on slide decks that they use for their classes.
Flashcards may be something that we need to work through so that they understand creating the flashcards. Flashcards, in terms of Quizlet, can sometimes be that external version. We may make it for them so that they can study. That's the tension here between what do I do for the student, and what do I have the student do for themselves. The more the student can do for themselves, the more they will remember. But if I'm looking at a student that if I ask them to make a full set of flashcards for a chapter to study from, if they're gonna make three flashcard, and say, "Yeah, I'm done," or if I can make a Quizlet deck, or a set of physical flashcards that have the 25 most important facts from this chapter, I think I'm gonna go that way because they're gonna have the opportunity to study from a more complete set of tools.
Some things you can do with flashcards to help out are to make them into puzzle pieces. This is a couple of examples. The digestive system, all the different pieces fit together. This makes it more active. This allows the student to do something while they are studying. So all of the different 10s, putting those together, and we know seven plus three is 10, five plus five is 10. Putting all those together causes them to be active, gives them a better chance, and more retention. So we've been going through a lot of Thomas Brown's ideas. And we get to the last one, which is the action, monitoring and self-regulating. I feel like if we have given them the tools to deal with the activation, to get started, to help them to focus, to regulate their effort, to manage their frustrations, and kind of keep on a even keel from an emotions standpoint, finding the different ways that they can engage their memory and be active within this process, that those can help and those will keep our students moving.
When we're monitoring, and when we have the students monitoring their actions at school, so much of it is about the questions, and I've listed all of those process questions that have been there before. And as we talk through these questions, as we look at these questions, we start to get the students to internalize, and eventually they start to ask themselves these questions. Now what I found with our LD kids, our ADD kids, ADHD kids, it may take a while. It is a process that really requires us to be patient, and to walk with the students. So as we move, and as we're thinking, as parents and educators, we look for these, we look for these tools, things like Quizlet, or things like flashcards, timers, these are only going to help the students to bring these questions up, and remember to ask themselves these questions as we're moving along.
Okay, now I'm trying to keep an eye on the chat. We've got a couple pieces. Buzzers and watches, the students can wear to see if they're focused. Yep, there is number of 'em. Sorry, I'm forgetting the name of it, but what I just saw at the Closing the Gap conference where it buzzes somewhat randomly, so it's not a buzz every so many minutes that you can get used to, but the idea is then when that buzzes, the student is supposed to perhaps ask the question, what am I supposed to be doing, am I doing what I need to be working right now. Those are fantastic. There are also some that can be, and in fact, either the Android or the Apple watches have a number of different ways that they can help remind. Talking about that paper planner, you can actually set a reminder, so when I get home, remind me to check my planner. So it's not a matter of time, it's a matter of location. So if you've got your location set on, and you've got your home set, it can remind you, it can say, "You're home. "You need to check your planner." Focus Keeper, yep, that's a great iOS app. Yep, that one, it's kind of the Pomodoro Technique. Tara, again, says Visual Thesaurus. And then we have Focus Keeper links there. Fantastic. Are there any other questions as we move to the end here? And if not, this will be posted. I believe it should be there tomorrow or the next day, so you will have all of my slides. We talked about a lot of stuff very, very quickly, and I appreciate all of your time. I know it is valuable. Again, reminder that there is a survey that they would like you to fill out, and then your certificate of participation.