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Caroline Piotrowski

Executive Functioning Development

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The development of executive functioning skills in kindergarten students in visual art education is explored in this paper. I wondered how to improve my students’ abilities to self-regulate their emotions, problem-solve to persevere in art and social art analysis discussions, and make decisions in the art making process and collaborating with their peers. My research design included organizing my class into small-group warm-up activities and differentiated modeling to targeted students, whole-group direct instruction and summary, and independent art making and summative projects. I set clear expectations for lessons, explicit instruction with visual support, model thinking and decision making process, establish routines with set time limits, chunk tasks into manageable steps, and use graphic organizers. Students were observed before, during, and after the intervention with recorded notes. Pre-assessment and post-assessments of executive functioning skills were completed for each student by the homeroom teacher and myself. I found that students’ executive functioning skills increased. Students were able to complete art analysis discussions using the word walls with content area vocabulary, listen and practice steps during explicit instruction, and create art according to the objective’s and classroom environment’s expectations. Positive praise and modeling were instrumental in motivating two students who needed additional support during explicit instruction. Visual graphic organizers and modeling each step using the document camera were vital to breaking down each step in the art making process.

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