Executive Functions Skill-Building Program

Train the Brain for Academic Success.

This neuroscience, research-based program strives to improve students' academic performance by encouraging the development of executive functions—the ability to plan, strategically solve problems, self-regulate behaviour, make decisions, pay attention, monitor and evaluate performance, and manage time.

These skills are controlled by the frontal lobe of the brain just behind the forehead. Teaching and reinforcing executive function skills helps students build organisational and time-management proficiencies for life.

Executive Function Skill-Building Program

Teacher GuideClick Here for demo

Each unit includes a two-page overview, assessments, student and teacher resources, and lesson plans. The lessons range from 30-60 minutes and introduce topics through activities.

Educators follow a curriculum notebook while students follow along via a student guide. Downloadable, interactive whiteboard files of the student guide help educators model the program in class. Regular assessments are provided and encouraged.

During the first year, the school purchases both teacher and student components. Each year thereafter, only new student guides need to be purchased.

The Teacher Curriculum Notebook table of contents includes:

  • 1. Overview

    The introduction presents concepts to students using time-allotted, engaging lesson plans, activities and assessment tools. Educators are provided structure for how to implement executive function skills into lessons so that students learn how to integrate and use them in their daily lives.

  • 2. Classroom Structures & Learning Environment

    This unit provides suggestions for how to manage a classroom, including room arrangement, homework distribution and collection systems, managing time, and helping students manage materials. Unit includes an overview and teacher resource.

  • 3. Materials Management

    Learning how to keep track of papers and grades is essential to academic success. While these skills need to be taught and reinforced, they develop into lifelong habits that increase efficiency. Organisational systems help students become more aware of pressing work while making it easier for them to store and locate materials. Unit includes an overview, assessments and three lessons.

  • 4. Time Management & Planning

    Students lead very busy lives with school extra-curricular activities, family, friend and homework assignments. Helping students become aware of how they spend their time, as well as giving them strategies to efficiently manage their time, will facilitate independence and a sense of control. Unit includes an overview, assessments and four lessons.

  • 5. Study Strategies

    Study strategies like following directions and taking organised and coherent notes enhances students' ability to study and prepare for tests. Unit includes an overview, assessments and twenty lessons.

  • 6. Goal Setting

    Goal setting requires the ability to articulate purposeful actions that enable students to predetermine what they want to accomplish, develop a plan to get there, monitor progress, ultimately achieve what is desired. Unit includes an overview, assessments and three lessons.

  • 7. Decision Making & Problem Solving

    Students often make choices without even realising that there are options. Sometimes these instant decisions have lasting consequences, while other decisions are made knowing they have long-term effects. These types of decisions require research and evaluation so that the optimal solutions can be found. Unit includes an overview, assessments and two lessons.

  • 8. Learning Strengths

    In this unit, we conceptualise "intelligence" by distinguishing between learning potential and learning strength. Because each student has a unique pattern of learning strengths and weaknesses, we need to engage all learning styles and allow students the flexibility to express their knowledge in various ways. Unit includes an overview and two lessons.

  • 9. Appendix

    Student worksheets, teacher resources and parent resources can all be found in one easy-to-find location.

  • 10. Notes

    When space is needed to capture important thoughts about students' progress, personal reminders or important tid-bits, this notes section allows educators to keep track of it.

A Blueprint for Success

Student GuideClick Here for demo

The Student Guide follows the outline below in cadence with the Teacher Curriculum Notebook:

  • Introduction
  • Materials Management
  • Time Management
  • Study Strategies
  • Goal-Setting
  • Decision-Making
  • Learning Strengths
  • Maintenance

INTRODUCTION

This unit introduces young students to executive functions skills and how they use these skills to tackle new challenges by breaking them into manageable tasks.

MATERIALS MANAGEMENT

Students are encouraged to set up a zipper binder and offered a self-assessment of how well they manage their materials. Insight and examples are provided to showcase how good materials management leads to academic success and less stress.

TIME MANAGEMENT

Taking a realistic view of how many hours are in a day, students examine how they manage their time. For elementary students, learning how to differentiate structured time versus time that is "their own" is important. Students are taught how to use a planner to help them plan their time.

STUDY STRATEGIES

While "studying" looks different for an elementary student versus a middle or high school student, the core of study strategies can be established from an early age. Students are given a list of "Powerful Questions" they can use to help them understand the goal and steps of every activity, project or assignment.

GOAL-SETTING

In this unit, elementary school students are encouraged to know what they want and how to get it. This unit helps students set specific and measurable goals, which is an important and critical skill to learn for academic and lifelong success.

DECISION-MAKING

Faced with innumerable decisions, students learn guidelines that help them make the right decisions. They are taught to ask for advice, research all options and weigh the pros and cons of each option. Narrative examples help students grasp these large concepts.

LEARNING STRENGTHS

In this unit, students learn and begin to understand how every brain is different—mainly that their own brain is unique and acquires knowledge and information differently from others. Students discover individual learning strengths—linguistic, logical/mathematical, spatial, bodily/kinesthetic, musical, interpersonal, intrapersonal, or naturalist.

MAINTENANCE

Students learn how to keep up the good work by providing regular maintenance to their organisational systems. Using consistency, students learn how to create a system for themselves, maintain their system and reinforce their system.

Executive Function Skill-Building Program

Teacher GuideClick Here for demo

Each unit includes a two-page overview, assessments, student and teacher resources, and lesson plans. The lessons range from 30-60 minutes and introduce topics through activities.

Educators follow a curriculum notebook while students follow along via a student guide. Downloadable, interactive whiteboard files of the student guide help educators model the program in class. Regular assessments are provided and encouraged.

During the first year, the school purchases both teacher and student components. Each year thereafter, only new student guides need to be purchased.

The Teacher Curriculum Notebook table of contents includes:

  • 1. Overview

    The introduction presents concepts to students using time-allotted, engaging lesson plans, activities and assessment tools. Educators are provided structure for how to implement executive function skills into lessons so that students learn how to integrate and use them in their daily lives.

  • 2. Classroom Structures & Learning Environment

    This unit provides suggestions for how to manage a classroom, including room arrangement, homework distribution and collection systems, managing time, and helping students manage materials. Unit includes an overview and teacher resource.

  • 3. Materials Management

    Learning how to keep track of papers and grades is essential to academic success. While these skills need to be taught and reinforced, they develop into lifelong habits that increase efficiency. Organisational systems help students become more aware of pressing work while making it easier for them to store and locate materials. Unit includes an overview, assessments and three lessons.

  • 4. Time Management & Planning

    Students lead very busy lives with school extra-curricular activities, family, friend and homework assignments. Helping students become aware of how they spend their time, as well as giving them strategies to efficiently manage their time, will facilitate independence and a sense of control. Unit includes an overview, assessments and four lessons.

  • 5. Study Strategies

    Study strategies like following directions and taking organised and coherent notes enhances students' ability to study and prepare for tests. Unit includes an overview, assessments and twenty lessons.

  • 6. Goal Setting

    Goal setting requires the ability to articulate purposeful actions that enable students to predetermine what they want to accomplish, develop a plan to get there, monitor progress, ultimately achieve what is desired. Unit includes an overview, assessments and three lessons.

  • 7. Decision Making & Problem Solving

    Students often make choices without even realising that there are options. Sometimes these instant decisions have lasting consequences, while other decisions are made knowing they have long-term effects. These types of decisions require research and evaluation so that the optimal solutions can be found. Unit includes an overview, assessments and two lessons.

  • 8. Learning Strengths

    In this unit, we conceptualise "intelligence" by distinguishing between learning potential and learning strength. Because each student has a unique pattern of learning strengths and weaknesses, we need to engage all learning styles and allow students the flexibility to express their knowledge in various ways. Unit includes an overview and two lessons.

  • 9. Appendix

    Student worksheets, teacher resources and parent resources can all be found in one easy-to-find location.

  • 10. Notes

    When space is needed to capture important thoughts about students' progress, personal reminders or important tid-bits, this notes section allows educators to keep track of it.

A Blueprint for Success

A Blueprint for SuccessClick Here for demo

The Student Guide follows the outline below in cadence with the Teacher Curriculum Notebook:

EXECUTIVE FUNCTIONS

Middle school students need a strong foundation of executive functions. This unit helps students define executive functions, categorised by organisational skills and higher-order learning skills, such as organizing materials, managing time, goal-setting, decision-making and self-monitoring.

MATERIALS

In the same way that building a house requires lots of raw materials, students need basic materials to succeed in middle school. This unit dedicates time to helping students keep their materials organised.

TIME MANAGEMENT

Students examine how they manage their time and learn the importance of good time management and the consequence of bad time management. Task analysis helps students learn how to more easily complete tasks by breaking them into smaller chunks.

STUDY STRATEGIES

One of the most daunting tasks students will undertake in middle school is learning how to study. This unit helps students find ways to organise information so they do not get overwhelmed.

GOAL-SETTING

This unit helps students understand how to set specific and measurable goals, which is an important and critical skill to learn for academic and lifelong success.

DECISION-MAKING

Faced with innumerable decisions, students learn guidelines that help them make the right decisions for themselves. They are taught to ask for advice, research all options and weigh the pros and cons of each option.

LEARNING STRENGTHS

In this unit, students learn and begin to understand how every brain acquires knowledge and information differently from others. They discover individual learning strengths—linguistic, logical/mathematical, spatial, bodily/kinesthetic, musical, interpersonal, intrapersonal, or naturalist.

MAINTENANCE

Students learn that organisational systems require maintenance. Using consistency, students learn how to create a system for themselves, maintain their system and reinforce their system.

Executive Function Skill-Building Program

Click Here for demo

The program's scope and sequence promotes mastery of foundational skills and knowledge that is then built upon throughout the year. Each unit includes a two-page overview, assessments, student and teacher resources, and lesson plans. The lessons, ranging from 30-60 minutes, provide structure for introduction of the topics and ample activities for practise.

Educators follow a curriculum notebook with lesson plans and activities. Students follow along via a student guide, which is a practise and reference for each student's progress. Downloadable, interactive whiteboard files of the student guide help educators model the program in class. Regular assessments are provided and encouraged.

During the first year, the school purchases both teacher and student components. Each year thereafter, only new student guides need to be purchased.

The Teacher Curriculum Notebook table of contents includes:

  • 1. Overview

    The introduction presents concepts to students using time-allotted, engaging lesson plans, activities and assessment tools. Educators are provided structure for how to implement executive function skills into lessons so that students learn how to integrate and use them in their daily lives.

  • 2. Classroom Structures & Learning Environment

    This unit provides suggestions for how to manage a classroom, including room arrangement, homework distribution and collection systems, managing time, and helping students manage materials. Unit includes an overview and teacher resource.

  • 3. Materials Management

    Learning how to keep track of papers and grades is essential to academic success. While these skills need to be taught and reinforced, they develop into lifelong habits that increase efficiency. Organisational systems help students become more aware of pressing work while making it easier for them to store and locate materials. Unit includes an overview, assessments and three lessons.

  • 4. Time Management & Planning

    Students lead very busy lives with school extra-curricular activities, family, friend and homework assignments. Helping students become aware of how they spend their time, as well as giving them strategies to efficiently manage their time, will facilitate independence and a sense of control. Unit includes an overview, assessments and four lessons.

  • 5. Study Strategies

    Study strategies like following directions and taking organised and coherent notes enhances students' ability to study and prepare for tests. Unit includes an overview, assessments and twenty lessons.

  • 6. Goal Setting

    Goal setting requires the ability to articulate purposeful actions that enable students to predetermine what they want to accomplish, develop a plan to get there, monitor progress, ultimately achieve what is desired. Unit includes an overview, assessments and three lessons.

  • 7. Decision Making & Problem Solving

    Students often make choices without even realising that there are options. Sometimes these instant decisions have lasting consequences, while other decisions are made knowing they have long-term effects. These types of decisions require research and evaluation so that the optimal solutions can be found. Unit includes an overview, assessments and two lessons.

  • 8. Learning Strengths

    In this unit, we conceptualise "intelligence" by distinguishing between learning potential and learning strength. Because each student has a unique pattern of learning strengths and weaknesses, we need to engage all learning styles and allow students the flexibility to express their knowledge in various ways. Unit includes an overview and two lessons.

  • 9. Appendix

    Student worksheets, teacher resources and parent resources can all be found in one easy-to-find location.

  • 10. Notes

    When space is needed to capture important thoughts about students' progress, personal reminders or important tid-bits, this notes section allows educators to keep track of it.

Student Guides

Click Here for demo

The Student Guide follows the outline below in cadence with the Teacher Curriculum Notebook:

  • Your Brain
  • Optimal Conditions
  • Brain Accessories
  • On Time
  • Study Strategies
  • Goal-Setting
  • Decision-Making
  • Learning Strengths
  • Maintenance

YOUR BRAIN

High school students need a strong foundation of executive functions. Executive function development originates in the frontal lobe of the brain. This unit helps students understand the different parts of the brain and which tasks are associated with each lobe.

OPTIMAL CONDITIONS

Each person's brain operates best under optimal conditions. It's important for students to learn and promote an atmosphere that helps them be successful at their tasks.

BRAIN ACCESSORIES

Although the human brain is powerful, it still requires several accessories—such as a planner, pen and pencil, highlighters, notebooks, and/or a computer—to operate at top efficiency. In this unit, students learn how to utilise these handy tools to accomplish personal goals.

ON TIME

Students examine how they manage their time and learn the importance of good time management and how to plan out personal time. Task analysis helps students learn how to complete tasks by breaking them into manageable chunks.

STUDY STRATEGIES

This unit helps students to organise information so they are not overwhelmed.

GOAL-SETTING

Working toward goals helps students create their own unique high school experience. This unit helps students understand how to set specific and measurable goals.

DECISION-MAKING

Faced with innumerable decisions, students learn guidelines that help them make the right decisions. They are taught to ask for advice, research all options, and weigh the pros and cons of each option.

LEARNING STRENGTHS

In this unit, students learn and begin to understand that their own brain acquires knowledge and information differently from others. Students discover individual learning strengths—linguistic, logical/mathematical, spatial, bodily/kinesthetic, musical, interpersonal, intrapersonal, or naturalist.

MAINTENANCE

Students learn that organisational systems require maintenance. Using consistency, students learn how to create a system for themselves, maintain their system, and reinforce their system.

Take a Closer Look

Response to Intervention: Daily Reinforcement of Valuable Research

This program incorporates Rush's compiled research into easy-to-implement classroom activities and lessons, which have been successfully used in intervention programs.

Helps students navigate learning.

Executive functions are essential to a student's ability to function in an academic setting. This program introduces concepts and prepares students for school readiness, because students develop skills to be more effective and efficient learners.

Homework completion rate increases.

As students gain deeper self-regulation and time-management skills, they are able to accomplish more tasks.

Students perform better on standardised tests.

Students experience dramatic improvement in cognitive skills—mental processes of perception, memory, judgment and reasoning, for example—which leads to more attentive students who are engaged in the classroom. Better attention and focus, as well as better recall of information, means grades, comprehension and test results improve.

21st century skills acquisition leads to more success later in life.

Executive function skills are essential to the real world. Problem-solving, strategic thinking, and the ability to respond socially and cognitively are all refined and practised. These are skills that help position a student for success. This is a ready-to-implement, researched program that has been successfully used in intervention programs.

Supported with educator tools.

To ensure our products are easy to use and provide the most impact possible, we provide extra resources that help educators integrate the program into the classroom. Learn more about our product support in the Online section above.

Online Educator Support Pieces



The included educator-support pieces elevate the program's effectiveness without adding more work for busy teachers. That is why we created Executivefunctions.schoolspecialty.com, a password-protected website where educators can download support pieces.

  • Forms: Utilise progress-monitoring chart forms to see the difference the program is making.
  • Program overview: A useful overview of the program for administrators and teachers, and a great way to get started or refresh the focus midyear.
  • Best practises: Helpful suggestions and implementation tips for using the program.
  • Quarterly educator newsletters: These newsletters provide information and tips to administrators and educators about the resources available and how to utilise them effectively. Delivered four times per year: August, October, January and March.

All this support adds additional value and helps educators get the most from the Executive Functions Skill-Building program.

What's Included


Product support:

ExecutiveFunctions.schoolspecialty.com is a dedicated, password-protected resource. The website houses a variety of downloadable support items designed to help educators implement this program in their classroom. See the Online section above for details.

Executive Functions Teacher Curriculum Notebook:

Each unit consists of a two-page overview, assessment tools, student resources, teacher resources and lesson plans. The comprehensive scope and sequence allows educators to help students build on previously taught skills.

Executive Functions Student Guides:

Following a standard format as the teacher notebook, the student guides include worksheets and self-assessments.

Rush NeuroBehavioral Center

A partnership based on neuroscience research.

A new partnership between Premier, a division of School Specialty and Rush NeuroBehavioral Center provides the only neuroscience, research-based curriculum that strives to improve academic performance by encouraging the development of executive function.

Rush NeuroBehavioral Center (RNBC) serves the medical, psychological and educational needs of children with neurobehavioral issues with a special emphasis on social-emotional learning impairments. It provides the best care to children, teens, and young adults who have difficulty forming relationships, regulating behaviour, or functioning effectively because of differences in the way their brains process information. Using research, clinical practise, and education, RNBC strives to help individuals achieve their full potential.