Developing the Skills for Success

Executive functioning (EF) continues to be a growing topic of interest and with students now being recognized as having EF problems or deficits, many schools and their teachers are scrambling to meet the needs of this increasingly recognized population of learners. Teachers instruct the needed literacy skills to succeed in society, but should they also teach students how to manage and control their own minds and emotions? 

Research now shows that “executive functioning skills are crucial building blocks for the early development of both cognitive and social capacities” and they are vital to early math and literacy skills (Early Experiences Shape Executive Function, n.d.-a, p. 3; (Foundations of Mathematics and Literacy: The Role of Executive Functioning Components). Therefore, what’s needed now are academic resources to help teachers develop this important skill. What’s more, many teachers need support, training, and materials because when students exhibit weak executive function skills during a lesson, the whole class suffers. Instructional time is continually interrupted and sidetracked and teachers now report that this is a common source of discouragement and burnout (Brouwers & Tomic, 2000).  Clearly, many children and adolescents need to be taught EF skills for improved cognitive functioning, behavior, emotional control, and social interaction.            

What is Executive Functioning?

One can glean a general understanding of executive functioning, simply by reversing the two words to a functioning executive.  It is the part of the brain that consciously exercises administrative or managerial control.  Executive Functioning (EF) is the control center of the brain and it resides in the frontal lobes located directly behind the forehead.  The main purpose of EF is to communicate with and coordinate goal-directed activities with other parts of the brain. 

What Metaphor Best Describes EF?

Some like to use the metaphor of an air traffic controller to describe the duties of EF (InBrief: Executive function, 2021, Early experiences shape executive function, 2021, Hodgkinson & Parks, 2016). However, I prefer comparing EF to a conscious conductor that directs a multisensory orchestra of cognitive processes. Like a maestro or well-respected music director, EF unifies the different instruments of the brain, sets a tempo, executes plans, listens critically, shapes a composition, uses the senses to interpret the surroundings, and controls one’s pacing of thoughts. When EF is well conducted the result is a united symphony of consciousness. 

Why This Course

This course was created to provide the training and tools so teachers, practitioners, and parents can offer step-by-step, executive functioning coaching and study skills training. The resources can be used with learners on a one-to-one basis or with a whole classroom of students. The course will continue to grow and participants are encouraged to share their feedback, ideas, and wishes.

References are available in the course.

Course Curriculum

  • 1

    1) Developing Executive Functions and Study Strategies Introduction For Teachers and Parents

    • Thoughts on Executive Functioning ((for teachers, professional and parents)

    • An introduction to Executive Functioning (or teachers, professional, parents, and older students)

    • Executive Functioning: What's That? (Student Handout) Can be used with young students or in tandem with An Introduction to Executive Functioning for older students

    • Executive Functioning: The Internal and External Impact (for teachers, professional and parents)

    • The Symptoms and Myths of Executive Functioning Challenges (for teachers, professional, parents and students)

    • Podcasts on Executive Functioning with Dr. Erica Warren and Darius Namdaran

    • InBrief: Executive Function Skills for Life and Learning: By The Center of the Developing Child: Harvard University

  • 2

    2) Moving from Inactive/Passive Learning to Active Learning

    • Assessing my Study Habits: Inactive, Passive, or Active (Student Assessment)

    • What Do Active Learners Look Like? (Student Handout)

  • 3

    3) Learn to Manage Your Mind

    • Manage Your Mind Video

    • Manage Your Mind Assessment (Student Handout) - post lesson

    • Manage Your Mind Activity (Student Handout) - post lesson

  • 4

    4) Finding the Best Study Approach

    • 4) Finding the Best Study Approach Video

    • Study Skills Activity (Student Handout) - post lesson

  • 5

    5) Understanding and Implementing Spaced Repetition

    • Spaced Repetition A Study Approach

    • Spaced Repetition: My Approach and Plan (Student Handout) - post lesson

    • References on Spaces Repetition

  • 6

    6) Getting Ready for Homework

    • Getting Ready for Homework

    • Improve Your Study Environment (Student Handout) - post lesson

    • Selecting Healthy Snacks (Student Handout) - post lesson

    • Keeping My Space Tidy and Organized (Student Handout) - post lesson

    • Manage My Worries (Student Handout) - post lesson

  • 7

    7) Using Memory Strategies

    • Memory Baseline-Growth Assessment (Student Handout)

    • An Introduction to Memory Strategies

    • Visualization and Memory

    • Hooking Memory Strategy

    • DIY Hooking Memory Strategy (also available as an interactive video)

    • Rhymes to Remember Memory Strategy

    • DIY Rhymes to Remember Memory Strategy (also available as an interactive video)

    • Chain Linking Memory Strategy

    • DIY Chain Linking Memory Strategy (also available as an interactive video)

    • Memory Strategies Acronyms and Acrostics

    • DIY Acronyms and Acrostics Memory Strategy (also available as an interactive video)

    • Associations and The Pegword Method

    • DIY Associations and the Pegword Method Memory Strategy (also available as an interactive video)

    • Memory Palaces or the Method of Loci for Memory

    • DIY Memory Palaces or the Method of Loci Memory Strategy (also available as an interactive video)

    • Managing Memory Strategies (Student Handout) - post lesson

  • 8

    8) Time Management and Test Prep

    • Using the Time Management and Test Prep Handouts

    • Time Management and Test Prep Handouts (Student Handout) - post lesson

  • 9

    9) Note-taking Strategies

    • Notetaking Strategies for Students

    • DIY Note Taking Strategy Presentation (also available as a video).pdf

    • Notetaking Strategies: A Comprehensive Approach for Teachers (Interview with Darius Namdaran)

    • Choosing My Notetaking Approach (Student Handout) - post lesson

    • GoodNotes vs. Notability & OneNotes vs. Evernote: Visual Comparisons

    • Other Great Notetaking Resources

  • 10

    10) Keeping Organized.

    • Using the Getting Organized Handouts

    • Getting Organized Handouts (Student Handout)

  • 11

    11) Other Resources of Improving Executive Functioning Skills

    • List of Resources That Help to Develop Executive Functioning Skills


Include a list of items to support the central theme of your page. Bulleted lists are a great way to parse information into digestible pieces.

  • Many videos, assessments, presentations, pdf handouts, and other resources for your participants.

  • Trainer videos as well as lesson videos that can also be share with students.

  • Support & guidance – Ask Dr. Warren anything

  • Lifetime updates

  • Recommended resources

  • Community Facebook page and access to interact with fellow practitioners

  • Evergreen site with new updates and resources


  • Is this course for students or professionals?

    The course was designed for anyone that wants to offer executive functioning coaching and study skills training. There are introductory videos for teachers, professionals, and parents. Then the rest of the course offers videos, presentations, assessments, and handouts that should be reviewed. These resources can then be used directly with students in a one-to-one situation or as a group/class.

  • Will you be adding more content?

    Yes. I plan on updating and adding additional content to the course. If there is content that you would like to see, let me know and I will try to accommodate!

  • Are you available, if I have questions?

    Yes. You can ask questions in the course and I'm here to help!

  • Do you offer a certificate of completion?

    Yes. If you would like an executive functioning and study skills certificate, you will need to finish the course and take a post-test on the content.

  • Can I get a refund?

    If this is a concern, I suggest that you sign up for a month. If you love it, you can sign up for a year. If you decide that it is not for you, you can discontinue your subscription and keep any pdf documents that you downloaded as a gift.

  • Do you offer financial aid?

    If you love this course and can't afford it, send a personal note to Dr. Warren explaining your situation and she will try to accommodate. You can send her an email at


Learning Specialist, Educational Therapist, Author of Educational Materials and Course Creator

Dr. Erica Warren

Dr. Erica Warren is an educational therapist/learning specialist and executive functioning coach but tells her students that she is much like a personal trainer for the brain and magician because she offers fun exercises and tricks to make learning both fun and memorable. She is an avid blogger, vlogger and podcaster and Dr. Warren has over 150 popular, educational publications at Good Sensory Learning that include multisensory lessons, games and activities for professionals and parents that help learners strengthen areas of weak cognition or academics while kindling a love for learning. She also offers teacher training courses and she has a full time New York practice, Learning to Learn where she empowers students of all ages to maximize their learning potential. Aspiring to empower “out of the box” learners, Dr. Warren created a degree program that united coursework and research in School Psychology, Special Education, Psychology, and Adult Education. With a full assistantship at the UGA Learning Disability Center in assessment, she pursued a doctorate that focused on life-long issues in learning, special education, the impact of learning difficulties across the lifespan, and comprehensive diagnostic evaluations. In addition, she earned a full assistantship with the National Science Foundation while working towards a Master's degree in Educational Psychology. Finally, Dr. Warren often refers to her bachelor’s degree in fine arts, “as my secret weapon as it brings joy, color, and creativity into my sessions.”

Social proof: testimonials

Mark Weston

Erica Warren is singularly focused on bringing forth groundbreaking educational practices through which student of all ages readily utilize their full potential. Her tireless and heartfelt efforts are fueling the emergence of an educational paradigm that better serves all students.

Renee Smith

At a somewhat advanced point in my life, I returned to school and earned my MA in education. My intent was to return to teaching, but soon realized it was not what it used to be! I had no idea what I was going to do with my newly minted educational credentials. Almost by accident a longtime friend and I determined that there was a need for tutoring. We both had been in business previously, but neither had been in the business of providing educational needs to children. Boy did we stumble out of the gate! Fortunately, Dr. Warren's program came to the rescue! By following the very well outlined steps, we have been able to redefine our program, better identify the needs of our students, and provide them with the support and guidance they need to succeed. Our business continues to grow and we couldn't be happier!