In This Issue
Understanding Language-Based Executive Functioning Skills

Organization skills extend to all aspects of life from a student's backpack to their writing skills. Language-based organization skills include organizing written language, interpreting information from a text, and effectively categorizing information for note-taking.
Language-based self-monitoring is called metalinguistic awareness. This skill involves using an "internal script" to reflect on and consciously evaluate our own behavior and performance. Language skills are vital to this process. Metalinguistic awareness is essential in following complex directions, editing written work, and determining how well one comprehends information presented to them.
Working memory is the process of temporarily storing and manipulating information for complex tasks, especially language. Working memory skills are critical in understanding spoken and written language, decoding and encoding, and following multi-step directions.
Cognitive flexibility is the ability to think flexibly by changing approaches or strategies when needed. It is a critical executive function for learning and succeeding in school. Language plays into this skill as students are increasingly required to interpret learned information in multiple ways. This skill is required for studying, reading comprehension, interpreting abstract language, and formulating written responses.
The reciprocal relationship between language and executive function skills is unquestionable. Both are needed to help students succeed academically and in life. Therefore, a certified Speech Language Pathologist is often the best resource to help parents and students understand that connection, and provide treatment when there are difficulties.
For a printable graphic detailing language-based executive functioning skills,  CLICK HERE!

Goal-Setting for the New Year

As 2018 comes to a close, the holidays are just around the corner and there are many errands to complete before families get together and the festivities begin. In all of the commotion of the holiday season, it is important to sit down and reflect on the past year and set goals for 2019. 

Whether is it dedicating oneself to a new nutrition program, completing a home-improvement project, or obtaining a promotion at work, each goal you set is important in your life. As adults, we often know the steps needed to achieve these goals. However, students may need more support in setting and reaching their own goals. 

Here are a few tips to helping your children develop a roadmap to success for the new year.


In order to set goals for 2019, it's important for your children to reflect on 2018 - both academically and personally. 

Identify the good things.  Ask your children to first think about what went well this past year. Perhaps they aced a really hard test, or maybe they finally learned how to play a song on the piano. Having your children focus on the positives of this year will put them in a better mindset because they will see that they have successes to celebrate!

Identify the challenging things . Instead of asking your children what they failed at this year, prompt your children to consider what was challenging. Words like "fail" invoke a sense of disappointment and will discourage your children, whereas words like "challenge" ask your children to consider what specific aspects of the task were difficult. This distinction can help your children better pinpoint what exactly they struggled with and make a plan to improve upon this aspect next year.

Encourage a growth mindset.  As your children identify what went well and what was challenging this past year, it's important to encourage them to develop a growth mindset when setting goals for the New Year. This mindset helps students see that even if they weren't ready to accomplish a goal this year, that doesn't mean they'll never reach their goal; they just haven't reached it yet and only need to change their approach to accomplish it. 


Winter break offers students a chance to relax and recharge their batteries. However, some students may struggle to regain momentum after returning from break and maintain motivation. 

Set realistic goals.  Setting goals is an important step in achieving success, but most students do not initiate this process on their own. Helping your children set realistic goals that they are invested in creates a boost of motivation that places a value on attaining success during the second half of the school year. For example, if improving grades is a goal your children want to achieve, help them pinpoint exactly what actions can be taken to make that happen, such as meeting with their teachers, attending review sessions, and submitting all homework. Be careful that the goals are not too ambitious, like going from Cs in classes to all As, thus creating a situation where your children may feel overwhelmed. Instead, encourage your children to pick one or two classes to focus on.

Make a checklist.  As the school year goes on, it is easy for students to lose sight of their goals. One way to stay on track is to write down the goal and a checklist outlining each step needed to achieve it. The checklist should be posted in a visible place such as a bathroom mirror, bedroom door, or refrigerator. This visual will serve as a reminder to keep your children on track. There are also many apps that your children can use, such as StickK. This is both an app and a website that allows you to set goals and be accountable for reaching them. In this app, you simply create a goal and then set a referee, whose job it is to make sure that progress is being reported accurately and that the student is staying on track. This makes it easier for parents to track progress without having to ask their children for regular updates. 

Teach problem-solving skills.  When progress towards a goal becomes difficult, it is important for parents to provide their children with support so they can learn to problem solve. For example, if your children didn't do well on a test or forgot to take notes, ask them to reflect on what strategies they used to prepare for and complete the task. Using the same methods that have not worked in the past might reinforce ineffective habits, so incorporating some novelty when discussing new strategies and solutions can help relieve feelings of frustration. Make sure to compare performances when new strategies and solutions are tried to reinforce the effectiveness. 


Setting and achieving goals can seem like an overwhelming task for children. But with their parents' support, it can be done! It is important to remember that all students want to succeed and they just need the necessary tools and support. 

The new year represents a fresh start, and it's one your children should eagerly prepare for by Thinking Organized!