The school year is well on its way. Our students seem to have settled into routines and are doing a great job. When a school year begins, teachers spend a great deal of time teaching and modeling behaviors which they want students to demonstrate throughout the year. We know that time and effort given to this early on will pay dividends as the year moves forward. This might include how students treat each other during cooperative groups, how primary children navigate the washrooms individually, or how a student might go about asking another child to be part of a recess game.
The same is true for our work with Habits of Mind. As we prepare our students for the world ahead of them, we need to be thoughtful about our teaching and modeling. We need to manage our impulsivity and strive for accuracy, two of the sixteen worthwhile habits of mind our students will be exposed to at Naper School. The staff at Naper will try to build habitual thinking skills, much like we have habits like brushing our teeth, letting our dog out, or being kind to people. Habits are not behaviors we pick up and lay down whimsically or arbitrarily. They are behaviors we exhibit reliably and automatically on appropriate occasions and they are smoothly triggered without painstaking attention.
Ways to incorporate the Habits of Mind at home:
• In books and movies, identify and discuss which habit of mind a character is using. By having these discussions, you are reinforcing how the habits are interwoven and their impact on decision making.
• Share with your child how you utilize the habits (at work, in your social settings, in managing a home, etc.) This is important to emphasize that the habits are not just something that is done at school, but are components of all aspects of our lives.
• Compliment your child when he or she uses a habit of mind. For example, “I know you have been practicing that (piano piece, ballet turn, juggling that soccer ball). You persisted even though it was difficult. And now you have improved.” In giving specific descriptive feedback, you are encouraging your child to engage in that specific behavior again.
These habits are our intentional focus to help students become self-directed learners and complex thinkers across all settings: at school, at home, and in their daily life now and in the future! In order to extend learning for our students, we need to keep on growing as learners ourselves. If you should have any questions about our thinking focus, please give me a call or stop in to have a conversation. I really enjoy sharing our work!