Season 5, Episode 11 of the FocusED School Leadership Podcast with Guest Mitch Weathers

Season 5, Episode 11 of the FocusED School Leadership Podcast with Guest Mitch Weathers

Teaching Executive Functioning Skills to All Students with Mitch Weathers

This is Season 5, Episode 11 of FocusED, and it features our guest, Mitch Weathers. Mitch defines executive functioning skills, why they are so important to teach students in school, and how to do it in every classroom…and much more.

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Mitch Weathers Brings a Tons of Experience to FocusED Listeners

Mitch Weathers became a gifted teacher because he was a mediocre student. Despite taking seven years to graduate college, he navigated the classroom with discomfort. 

This unique perspective fueled Mitch’s teaching approach. Recognizing the importance of laying a foundation for learning, he created Organized Binder. This research-backed strategy empowers teachers to impart executive functioning skills efficiently, preserving valuable instructional time. 

By establishing a predictable routine, Organized Binder fosters safer learning spaces, shaping Mitch’s journey from a struggling student to an innovative educator.

Mitch’s book helps educators understand and implement executive functioning skills in the classroom. It’s called Executive Functions for Every Classroom, Grades 3-12: Creating Safe and Predictable Learning Environments. You can find Mitch on X @organizedbinder. 

FocusED Show Notes with Mitch Weathers

Mitch talks about writing the book because not all teachers can access his company’s resources, Organized Binder, but they can design lessons that help students gain executive functioning skills. The book helps with that. 

Mitch says that we can’t hope that students will pick up executive functions (EF) skills by chance. 

Joe reminds listeners that we interviewed Curtiss Murphy, and we must assume confusion. With that in mind, Joe asks Mitch to define EF. 

Mitch said that one of the schools he works with calls EF skills “studentness.” The reason for this is that not all kids know how to “do school.” EF teaches how to do school well, and they translate to life skills. 

Don’t miss the 6 skills that Mitch says matter for all other skills to fall in place. 

We discuss predictable learning spaces and the need for the environment to be safe for risk-taking and other factors required for learning to take place. 

Mitch calls for more routines so that kids aren’t spending their cognitive load on processing the demands of the classroom and the teacher so that they can place that demand on the learning intentions. 

Don’t miss what he says about “shared routines” in schools and collective teacher efficacy. When we build shared routines, we’re also collectively rallying around something that we all care to deliver to kids. 

EF skills are not necessarily something that should just be taught in isolation, but rather they should be used in the context of all learning scenarios. 

Joe asks about the trouble with collective efficacy and why we don’t share practices for predictable learning environments. Mitch has a simple answer: too much isolation. 

The rhythm and routine of the day shouldn’t change. ~ Mitch Weathers 

Several times, Mitch mentions Visible Learning MetaX. All instructional leaders should know about this and how some strategies have larger effect sizes than others. 

You want to listen to Mitch describe the need for continuity in schools. 

Mitch says that when you pick a routine to implement, you should explore why. The rationale is as important as the strategy itself. 

Mitch mentions the following resources: Organized Binder and Teach Better’s Grid Method

Mitch talks about CTE being the future of secondary education. 

He tells us that too much of school is focused on content and teaching and not enough on the environment. 

Books that Mitch Weathers Mentions on FocusED

Other People’s Children by Lisa Delpit 

Powerful Teaching by Patrice Bain and Pooja Agarwal 

Niche Down by Christopher Lochhead and Heather Clancy

Related Content from TheSchoolHouse302

Our Leading Better and Growing Faster Podcast with Mitch Weathers

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FocusED is your educational leadership podcast where our mission is to dissect a particular focus for teachers and school leaders so that you can learn to lead better and grow faster in your school or district. Let us know who you would like to hear from next.