Assistive Technology & Executive Functioning Skills at Park Academy
By Maddy Roach, Park Academy Reading Teacher
There are so many different resources available to our students to assist with executive functioning skills. Organizing, planning, prioritizing, multitasking, etc… most students at Park Academy have some struggle with one or more of these skills, and our goal as educators and partners in their educational experience is to help them figure out what they need in order to be successful. In different classes, I have used a multitude of assistive technology to help with executive functioning skills ranging from graphic organizers to audio books.
One specific assistive technology many teachers use at Park Academy is Learning Ally. Our Each students are each given their own personal account to listen to audiobooks. Most Language Arts classes utilize this resource so our students are able to ear-read grade-level material. They are able to gain vocabulary knowledge, hear what accurate fluency sounds like, and stay aligned with Common Core State Standards. Learning Ally also has some wonderful teacher resources such as brainstorming activities, graphic organizers, writing templates and reading logs.
Here are a list of some of my favorite assistive technologies:
Quizlet – create your own quiz or use one already made
- Docs (dictation)
- Book Analysis form with Vocabulary, Writing Prompts, aligns with Common Core State Standards
- Graphic Organizers
- Character Maps, Venn Diagrams, Book to Movie Comparison
- Essay Templates, Letter Templates, Read-Draw-Write, Identifying Themes, Point of View
- Comic Strip Organizers
- Reading Logs
Front Row – Students practice math and reading at their level
Khan Academy – Math practice and lessons
Class Dojo – Teacher/Parent/Student communication
Kahoot – Makes learning fun through class multiple choice “quizzes”
StoryBird – Students are inspired by artwork to create short stories or poems
Specifically with Learning Ally, I have had a class break into two groups to read two different novels. Students are responsible for a weekly reading log as well as comprehension questions. Using Google Classroom, I have assigned these questions and students can work on them as they are listening to their book. Even though there are two different assignments going on, students are able to access their personal novel as well as their individualized questions. Using Google Classroom, I am able to see when students submit their work and leave comments or questions.
Before introducing these executive functioning tools, students may have gotten lost within the multitude of steps involved to access and complete their assignments. Students who struggle with executive functioning skills often times need these step-by-step procedures. These tools allow them to complete their assignments using these three steps: 1. Access their assignment expectation on Google Classroom 2. Use their Learning ALly account for reading tasks 3. Complete their assignment and turn it in on Google Classroom.
These are all great resources for our students, but the main goal is to teach them how to use them. It’s one thing to show a website to a 6th grade middle school class but it is another thing to break it down, show them how to use these tools effectively and then one day in their future, they will know what they need in order to be successful. That is our goal. We want our students to be successful students, successful citizens in our community.