School-Wide Lessons for Students


EF Word


Question of the Week



Fixed mindset – things are what they are and they cannot be changed Growth mindset – you can get better at anything you decide to get better at

Is that a fixed mindset or a growth mindset?

A teacher hands a student an assignment. The student takes one look at it and states “I can’t do this. It’s too hard.” The teacher responds with “is that a fixed mindset or a growth mindset?”


Ability to think about your thinking

Are you thinking about your thinking?

The teacher is leading a class discussion and asks the students “what step would I do first in solving this order of operations problem?” One student shouts out “5!” Others shout out “I got 16” or “order of operations!” None of the students have processed what the question was that was asked and are just shouting out guesses. The teacher responds with “are you thinking about your thinking?”


Ability to keep track of information and materials

Do you have what you need?

A classroom procedure is that students pick up their notebooks when they enter the room, write down that night’s homework in their agenda book, and put the homework that was due that day out on their desk. When the bell rings, the teacher prompts the class “do you have what you need?”


Ability to see the individual steps in an assignment

What is your plan?

A teacher assigns a project that’s due in two weeks. The project is made up a variety of components that will take varying amounts of time and energy to complete. After explaining the project to the students and telling the class the deadline, the teacher encourages the students to think about how they’re going to plan for its completion by asking the students “what is your plan?”


Ability to change plans as needed

Are you stuck on the escalator?

A student gets the wrong answer when solving an equation. The teacher asks the student to check their work and try again. After solving it exactly the same way the second time and getting the same wrong answer again, the teacher encourages the student to recognize the rigidity in their thought process by asking “are you stuck on the escalator?”

Task Initiation

Ability to being work in a timely manner

Have you started?

Students are supposed to start on their warm-up right away after entering the classroom. The bell has rung and several students have forgotten that this is the class procedure and are not working. The teacher prompts the students by asking “have you started?”

Sustained Attention

Ability to maintain attention to task

Where is your focus?

Students are working on completing a lab in science class. The teacher notices a student who has started doodling on their paper and another student who is using the time to chat with their neighbor about an unrelated topic. The teacher prompts the students to get back on task by asking “where is your focus?”

Time Management

Ability to use time effectively

Are you managing time or is time managing you?

A teacher assigns a unit test review on Monday and tells students it is due Friday. A student in her class who is missing a quiz from a day they were absent the week before is going to make it up in Falcon Focus time this week. When Friday rolls around, they come to class without their homework that they had all week to complete and tells the teacher “well, I had to complete my quiz in Falcon Focus Time so I didn’t have time to do the test review.” The teacher encourages the student to think about how they chose to use their time that week to complete their work by asking “are you managing time or is time managing you?”

Emotional Control

Ability to manage emotions

Are you in control?

A student is frustrated because they do not understand the work they are being asked to do. After a few minutes of working on it, he exclaims “this is stupid! I’m not doing it!” and tears the paper up. He then puts his head on his desk and refuses to do any more work. The teacher brings the student into the hallway to discuss the outburst and begins their conversation with “are you in control?”

Response Inhibition

Ability to think before acting

Are you waiting for the second marshmallow?

Students are working on completing an ecart assessment in class. It will count as a test which is 40% of their grade. When students are finished with the ecart, they have been given permission to go to another website where they may play review games related to the content. The teacher notices that one student is already halfway through the ecart only five minutes into class because he wants to move on to playing the online games. She encourages the student to think about whether he really wants to give up the long term reward of a good test grade that will raise his class average over the short term reward of getting to play games today by asking him “are you waiting for the second marshmallow?” (this question specifically relates back to the video in which children were sat in front of one marshmallow and told they could eat that one marshmallow now, or if they waited an unspecified amount of time, they could have two marshmallows later).

Working Memory

Ability to hold information in your head while you are solving a problem

Is your memory working?

The class is reviewing vocabulary for the current unit and they are working in pairs to quiz each other using flashcards. The teacher notices that a student has been quizzed multiple times by their partner but is still getting many of the words wrong. She prompts the student with “is your memory working?”

Goal Directed Persistence

Ability to keep working towards a goal

Are you sticking with it?

A student has set a goal for themselves to complete all of their homework this quarter so that they can improve both their understanding of the material and their overall grade for the class. After a couple of weeks, the teacher meets with the student to check in on their progress and help support them in achieving their goal and asks “are you sticking with it?”

Executive Function Review Game     To remind of the executive functioning skills, how they are used in classes, and the tools that could be used to help improve specific skills.
    Students either acting out or drew an EF skill to present to the Falcon Focus class.
    Identifying Executive Function skills that will improve study skills and reduce stress