From all of us at the SMARTS Executive Function Curriculum Team, a very happy Thanksgiving! We hope you find time for reflection while you’re surrounded by family and friends. And remember to make time for reflection and giving thanks in the classroom, too!
At times we all get caught up in negative thinking or distortions. What we need is to develop an understanding of our true areas of strength and challenge. This can only be done through reflection. The act of reflecting and asking questions can help students get past globally positive or negative beliefs such as “I’m dumb” or “I can’t do it.” The goal is for students to be both accurate and specific in their self-understanding (e.g., “I am good at fractions, but I need to work on my negative numbers.”). More specific and realistic metacognitive awareness will foster a growth mindset in your students, helping them to learn from failure and persevere.
In SMARTS, empowering students through metacognition is the name of the game! We use strategy reflection as an opportunity to ask questions that build students’ self-awareness. These reflections can take place at the beginning or end of a lesson, after a major assignment such as a test or essay, after students receive a progress report or report card, or even in preparation for a parent-teacher conference or IEP meeting. All of these moments represent both a time when the student may fall prey to negative and toxic thoughts as well as an opportunity to grow and reflect.
As you reflect on the past year this Thanksgiving, why not do some planning, too? Think about upcoming moments in 2019 where you can help your students reflect. Let the new year be a new opportunity to build self-awareness, positive self-concepts, and executive function strategies that help your students achieve their goals.
Happy Thanksgiving from all of us!
- Michael Greschler, M.Ed., SMARTS Director