Habits of the Mind

Teaching Empathy

  • by Kelly Harmon
  • Aug. 7, 2020, 8:17 a.m.

Teaching Empathy

Empathy is defined as the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. Taking time to talk about empathy through read alouds, role playing, and discussions will help students be mindful of others. When we teach kids to have gratitude, we are in turn teaching them to be empathetic. 

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Tools for Starting Distance Learning Off Strong

  • by Kelly Harmon
  • Aug. 3, 2020, 1:01 p.m.

With many school systems starting off the fall semester with virtual learning, we wanted to provide you with ideas for making virtual learning smooth and interactive!

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Do I Feel Like Learning Today?

  • by Kelly Harmon
  • Jan. 10, 2020, 12:17 p.m.

It’s Monday morning and many students have arrived at school feeling tired or even stressed after a weekend of busyness. Some students move slowly to prepare for the day, while others put their heads down, ready to go back to sleep. In the worst case scenario, some students may have experienced trauma-filled weekends and their brains are still in fight or flight. So do they feel like learning? Probably not. Do students have a choice about whether they feel like learning?

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Habit of the Mind: Creating, Imagining, Innovating

  • April 9, 2017, 3:38 p.m.

It is important for children to be creative as they engage in projects and new ways to solve problems in the classroom. This is intrinsically motivating. Modeling and discussing what it looks like to imagine, create and innovate is the best way to promote this habit of the mind. Here are some texts and a video to help spark the discussion in your school or classroom.


This short video is a great way to illustrate Creating, Imagining, and innovating. The video includes some historical features about how people have been innovative and changed the way we have done tasks. It also uses uses the habit of the mind specifically in improving writing!

Click here to watch and use!


This is a great text to show students how your imagination can take you on great journeys and help you problem solve. Walk along with Harold as he draws his story! Habits of the mind: Creating, Imagining, Innovating, Responding with Wonderment and Awe, Gathering Data Through all Senses.

Watch the video story here!



Max's brothers have great collections that they do not let him touch or be apart of. Max decides to start his own collection of words! Max's collection just needs a little imagination to make a story! Habits of the mind: Creating, Imagining, Innovating, Thinking Flexibly.

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Habits of the Mind: Questioning & Problem Posing

  • March 14, 2017, 3:35 p.m.

Questioning and problem posing is a strategy of a wise individual. Children naturally question everything around them with "What is that? Why? Where?" All of this is an attempt to construct meaning of the world around them.

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Habit of the Mind: Striving for Accuracy

  • Jan. 3, 2017, 3:50 p.m.

Striving for accuracy is the seeking or desiring exactness or something to be even better than before. When I think about accuracy I think about perfection. While it is impossible to be perfect, it's not impossible to strive to be better than you were before. I love this quote from William J.H. Boetcker, “Never mind what others do; do better than yourself, beat your own record from day to day, and you are a success.” Teach your students that striving to be better each day is more important than simply being perfect. This can be a great tie-in when you are goal setting and tracking student progress in the new year!

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Habits of the Mind: Thinking Flexibly

  • Nov. 6, 2016, 3:46 p.m.

The Art of Seeing Alternatives

The skill of a great thinker in to be able to think flexibly. When we think flexibly we see other prospectives, generate alternatives, and consider other options. It's easy to say, "That's impossible" or "That will never work" but, being able to look at the situation and try to solve it or think flexibly is the sign of a growth mindset!

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Habits of the Mind: Listening With Empathy & Understanding

  • Oct. 1, 2016, 4:42 p.m.

The Art of Listening

Sometimes the most important thing you can do for someone is to simply listen. As easy as this sounds, it's actually not! Listening is a skill that takes both self control and compassion for others. When you stop and listen, you are putting aside yourself and focusing on others. Listening with empathy and understanding is one essential skill that students need to see modeled, authentically practiced, and discussed often.

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Habits of the Mind: How to Help Students Manage Impulsivity

  • Sept. 2, 2016, 4:40 p.m.

The purpose of school is to teach children strategies for becoming successful adults. Students need to learn academic skills and academic behaviors that will help them succeed in the classroom and in challenging life situations. Costa and Kallick have identified 16 habits of mind that help us respond intelligently when charting unfamiliar territories.

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Teaching A Growth Mindset

  • July 31, 2016, 4:36 p.m.

The beginning of the year sets the tone for you and your students' entire school year. Educators have the task of creating a positive learning environment and setting the attitude and perception of their classroom. What are you doing to help your students establish or continue to have a growth mindset?

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