EFgoPRO™ Intervention Activities

Executive Function Interventions

When you hear the word intervention you might think about special types of services for students who are struggling. That is definitely one type of intervention, but when we talk about EF interventions, we mean a wide range of activities that help students of all skill levels practice their EF. The goal of EF interventions is to meet students where they are at and work to strengthen EF – this includes students who are not quite meeting age expectations for their EF skills, as well as students who are exceeding those expectations. Everyone has room to improve! Giving students a boost in their EF skills may make it easier to learn, increase student engagement and motivation, decrease the likelihood of disruptive behavior, and improve relationships with teachers and other students.

Child development experts suggest that the most effective EF intervention activities encourage students to reflect on what they are doing:

  • pausing
  • considering options and goals
  • interrupting automatic responses

Intervention activities must also provide students with opportunities to practice EF skills directly, to learn by doing: 

  • practice paying attention
  • thinking flexibly
  • keeping information in mind

A wide range of activities is good for challenging and developing EF skills. EF skills allow students to make better decisions rather than acting impulsively. They help keep students on a positive developmental trajectory in many domains in life, leading to greater learning and success in school, as well as to more positive relationships with peers and adults. It is important that you build the activities into your daily lessons. Planning for them will make it more likely you won’t run out of time on a busy day!

 

EFgoPRO™ Recommended Activities

Once you have completed an assessment, EFgoPRO™ will group your students based on their scores and recommend both classroom and digital activities to use. We recommend spending a minimum of 15 minutes every week on activities during the IMPROVE section of your Instructional Period. For greater effectiveness, the intervention activities should be played 15 minutes daily. This provides the repetition necessary for students to integrate EF skills into all areas of their life.

Classroom Activities

Once you have completed an assessment, EFgoPRO™ will group your students based on their scores and recommend both classroom and digital activities to use. We recommend spending a minimum of 15 minutes every week on activities during the IMPROVE section of your Instructional Period. For greater effectiveness, the intervention activities should be played 15 minutes daily. This provides the repetition necessary for students to integrate EF skills into all areas of their life.

Partner Activities

We have several partners that support our efforts in Executive Function education.  Most notably, if your organization uses the activities from Conscious Discipline, please inform your Reflection Sciences account manager.  That way, your classroom’s assessment results will correlate to personalized Conscious Discipline activities based on the child’s age and their performance on EFgoPRO™. 

Digital Activities

Research shows that many ways of practicing executive function (EF) skills can help kids, including computer gameplay. The key is that kids are progressively challenged, or that the tasks get harder as they get better at them. Think about it like weight training; the weight needs to get heavier and heavier as you get better at lifting weights. Classrooms that use both traditional lessons and digital game-based learning may have the best student learning outcomes. EFgoPRO™ recommends specific games out of the Kiko™ digital games library based on a student’s most recent assessment results. These games can also be shared with parents to continue the EF learning at home! 

 

For more information on how to access digital activities with parents click here

 

When planning to implement a digital games strategy, there are several things you need to take into consideration. For instance, when will you be offering games—as a break or a shift from in-person learning, or as a reward for children finishing other tasks? If as a reward, it is important to make sure children aren’t rushing through another task just to get to the digital games.

 

You may also want to consider whether and how to make children’s progress through the digital games visible (recognizing that children may talk to classmates about what they’re playing, or what level they’re on). Lastly, you may also want to watch to be sure kids are not getting bored or distracted. If this is the case, it is completely acceptable to have the child quit and move on to other tasks. Do keep in mind that sometimes a particular level may be easier, and the challenge is yet to come.

Things to consider when planning activites

  • Group Size (whole or small)

Depending on the needs of your students and the setup of your classroom environment, you can do the activities in large or small groups – or even individually. Remember that distractions can occur, so be sure to plan ahead on when and where a large or small group may be most appropriate.

  • Time of Day

Students may experience distractions depending on the time of day (morning, after lunch, or late afternoon). Shifting the time of day when you do certain activities helps to build cognitive flexibility and encourages students to adapt to changing situations. If your students need the added challenge, changing things up can be a good thing!

  • Location

Adding variety through location is a good way to work on EF skills. Using common spaces, reading tables, or the hallway just outside your classroom might be easiest. However, getting into the gym or taking students outside (not just at recess) can help promote flexibility in your students.

  • Parent Volunteers

Use your whole team! There is no reason to be on your own. Utilize the volunteers who are looking to help you out. This is a great way to work with smaller groups during certain activities, particularly for interventions that need adult support.

  • Minimizing Distractions

Try to think from the perspective of your students and consider beforehand some of the little things that can be distracting to some students. Plan activities knowing that their attention spans are not the same as yours.

  • Build your lesson plans with activities in mind

As you build out academic lessons and units, keep EF in mind. You can do this by using the games and adjusting them for content. For example, during Captain May I? give the number of steps as an addition problem (“You may take 2 + 1 steps forward”). This helps to enhance EF skills and meet learner outcomes at the same time!

  • Scripting Activities

You know how important it is to be very clear with your instructions! Most of the intervention activities provided include small scripts and repetition to help you stay consistent and help your students easily and quickly understand what to do. It doesn’t hurt that they also make explaining each game’s directions a no-brainer for you!

  • Reflection

One of the most important aspects of learning and improving EF is reflection. Here’s a simple principle to remember: When we help students reflect on their thoughts, actions, and feelings, they will have more control over their thoughts, actions, and feelings. Be sure to build in “end-time” so students can reflect on the task they were just working on. If your students struggle with this, remember that when you model reflection aloud, they will have an easier time doing it themselves.

Outage

As of 11:30 AM CT 9/28, our cloud provider is experiencing an outage. This is affecting the Admin Portal, EFgoPRO™, and MEFS App™. We apologize for the inconvenience and are expecting our cloud provider to resolve the issue quickly.