Common Sense


Best Apps and Sites for Improving Executive Function

Executive function -- how to plan, organize, remember, and carry out tasks as well as manage emotions -- is tied closely to success in school and life. From managing projects to completing work to just showing up on time, executive function skills make us more productive and successful not to mention conscientious and collaborative. Just about everyone struggles with these skills, and some students face significant challenges. While tech doesn't solve executive function challenges, these apps and sites will help students help get on the right path whether they're in preschool or high school, just need a little extra help or have special needs.

If you're looking to help students recognize and manage their emotions, check out our list of Emotional Intelligence Apps and Games. 

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Top Picks


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Thinking Time Pro - Cognitive Skills for Early Learning

Challenging games stress memory, logic, impulse control, flexibility

Bottom line: Effective and engaging way to address foundational cognitive skills; most kids will need adult support.


Practical, flexible life-skills diagrams build executive functions

Bottom line: A variety of customizability options make it easy to personalize boards.

Todo Telling Time

Top-notch tool for teaching time, from minutes to months

Bottom line: Well-rounded, fun learning game that's ALL about time.

Social Stories

Quick and simple behavior-reinforcement tool for kids with autism

Bottom line: Teachers will find this an efficient way to engage their students in understanding and creating social stories.

Goalbook Toolkit

Set tailored targets with pricey but worth-it kit of tools, strategies

Bottom line: You pay for quality with Goalbook Toolkit, including access to clear, well-crafted learning goals and strategies that allow for far easier differentiation.

FTVS HD - First Then Visual Schedule HD

Useful multisensory tool teaches self-direction and follow-through

Bottom line: This simple but powerful tool engages kids in independently following a schedule.


Teachers' text reminders give students -- and parents -- a reason to check their phones

Bottom line: Well-designed, widespread messaging tool can keep students and families connected with their schools -- provided they have access.

Time Timer

Easily conceptualize, manage, and visualize time

Bottom line: Goes above and beyond standard timers to include handy customization and visual cues.


Powerful mind mapper aimed at adults, simple enough for older kids

Bottom line: Sophisticated productivity tool enhances learning and organization with simple dashboard and slick workspace.


Simple tool helps teachers and students make lists, get organized

Bottom line: A simple, free way to get organized combining lists, outlines, and notes with some extra nice-to-have features that make this tool a solid option for teachers and students.


Write, edit, and sync content on the go with flexible note-taking tool

Bottom line: For an app that doesn't have a lot of bells and whistles, it's surprisingly versatile and useful for many types of writing and note-taking.


Brainstorm, organize, and present on this tidy virtual corkboard

Bottom line: This visually appealing, simple-to-use corkboard is most useful with Pro purchase.


Impressive organizational tool has limitless uses

Bottom line: This free information-management tool can help kids become tech-savvy and learn to better organize their digital lives.

iHomework 2

Keep track of assignments, due dates, and tasks with digital planner

Bottom line: This flexible, easy-to-learn organizational tool will help students get set up for success, though teachers will need to follow up regularly to make sure the information is accurate.


Flexible note-taking tool empowers learners of all abilities

Bottom line: An excellent tool that lets students make their notes thorough and useful in the way that best suits their learning styles and abilities.

Microsoft OneNote

Mobile version of a note-taking giant, now built for flexible, collaborative work

Bottom line: Inelegant compared to some competitors, OneNote is a powerful (and free) tool for thinking and organization, and a no-brainer if you're in an Office 365 school.

myHomework Student Planner

Digital planner makes scheduling easy, if paired with teacher app

Bottom line: If used on a regular basis with teacher guidance and motivation, students can be ready to tackle their complex schedules with ease.

Fetchnotes - Shared Notes, Personal Reminders & To Do Lists

Simple, convenient tool for capturing, organizing info on the go

Bottom line: Provides an easy way to capture and organize simple notes across multiple devices.

Get tips for using these tools in the classroom

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