I liked the “Know Yourself” activity. It was my favorite because it helped me learn more about myself. In SMARTS I learned that I am good at remembering things and taking tests. I also learned to set realistic goals, which helped in my dance class. —Amy, middle school student
This student describes her abilities in a positive way, instead of focusing on the negatives. Many students, especially those who have struggled with ADHD or dyslexia, may find it hard to say something nice about themselves when it comes to schoolwork. For students to develop their own learning strategies, they need more than metacognition, or self-awareness. They also need confidence and faith in their abilities. That is why the first lesson of SMARTS is all about getting to know yourself before learning about executive function strategies.
Once students have identified their strengths, the next step is to ask them how these strengths became strengths in the first place! Our talents and skills do not exist in a vacuum. What do we do to make them strengths? Maybe our parents played us music at a young age, and now we love to play music. Maybe it was difficult for us to learn to read, but we worked hard and now we love reading. Exploring how our strengths become strengths promotes a growth mindset and helps students see that their strengths and challenges are something they can work with instead of being mysterious and out of reach.
Check out lesson 1.1 (What Is Metacognition?) of the SMARTS EF Curriculum to try the Know Yourself activity with your students today!
—Michael Greschler, EdM, SMARTS Director