July 17, 2015

Classroom Habitudes Blog Hop and Book Study!

Time for a book study and Blog hop! I have teamed up with some fellow bloggers Alissa, Linda, Aimee, and Angela to explore Classroom Habitudes by Angela Maiers.

I had heard of these skills with older students and as an early childhood special educator I was not sure how applicable this would be to my youngest learners and I didn't want to have to add something more to my already standards based full plate. I am still curious to know what "21st Century Learning" entailed, which is why I wanted to participate in this book study. 

This book will discuss the following 7 skills needed for 21st century learning. Good start! We do all this in PreK!
  • Imagination
  • Curosity
  • Self-awareness
  • Courage
  • Adaptability
  • Peserverance
  • Passion
The introduction did a great job of laying the foundation for the rest of the book and defined each of the 7 skills in a nice chart that is easy to read and understand. It also includes a self-assessment to measure your own 21st century learning skills that will help you determine what areas you are strong in and areas that you may want to explore further. This book address "ALL" learners and as a special educator that was very nice to see! Habitudes is a great new word that Angela Maiers brilliantly created from a combination of the words "Habits" and "Attitudes". Yes! We can address these skills in a Pre-K classroom with our little learners! There are also QR codes that will take you directly to websites and other media that will provide you with examples of the content in the book. You will need a QR reader app on your tablet or phone to access these resources. 
My favorite quote from the introduction:

"The learning habits and attitudes that we teach our students will enable them to become effective contributors to this world."

Chapter 1- Nurturing Genius
I enjoyed this chapter and it's challenge to you as the reader to reconsider what a "Genius" is. There is a wonderful definition that was crucial in changing my thinking when hearing or thinking of who is a genius and how it relates to Habitudes. 
Additionally, this chapter describes a framework called "Name It, Claim It, Sustain It" and discusses a variety of ideas and lessons to use for developing classroom habitudes. The lessons will have to be adapted to meet the needs of the our little learners in Pre-K but it is not impossible and in fact, those who work and play with preschoolers are already laying the foundational work for future development of these 21st century learning skills. 
The chapter ends with reflective questions for you as the educator to address to help you develop an environment that will foster skills development. 
My favorite quote from Chapter 1:

"You can't settle for the ordinary when you comprehend you're extraordinary." 
Chapter 2- Imagination
This chapter address imagination, the first of the 7 skills set discussed in the book. She begins by discussing why imagination is important followed by several suggestions for developing imagination in the classroom through discussion, conversation, playing games, solving problems, and modeling for our students. We do this all the time in Pre-K! Again, the author invites you to reflect on your own imagination and resources to refer to for yourself as the educator. Student resources are provided and include children's books, which is very helpful for those educators like many preschool teachers who like to incorporate literacy and books into their lessons. 
My favorite quote from Chapter 2:

"Imagination is our mind's eye and gives us the capacity to jump from present facts to future possibilities." 

Next Friday I will share my discoveries from chapter 3- Curiosity and chapter 4-Self-Awareness. In the meantime, hop on over to these ladies blogs to read about their thoughts on this book.

This last week we read chapter 3 on Curiosity and chapter 4 on Self-awareness. Both of which are so engrained in our little learners! This should be interesting!

Chapter 3: Curiosity
The chapter on curiosity starts with a discussion on why curiosity is important. As any teacher knows, curiosity is crucial for feeding the motivation for learning.
·       Pitch: Why curiosity matters.
·       Anchor: Discussion using an anchor chart utilizing the discussion format of KWL chart (What do you Know, What do you Want to learn, What have you learned?) This is a great tool to use in Pre-K!
·       Conversations that Last: How to keep the conversation going.

The next sections provide lessons to use with students.
·       Lesson 1: Building Curiosity through focusing attention. There are reflective questions and a link to a great Personal Curiosity Inventory that helps you address your own level of curiosity.
·       Lesson 2: Building Questioning Tools. This lesson focuses on how to tie asking questions to curiosity. In the Pre-K classroom, we can do this when a student asks us a question by saying, “I can tell you are curious about this because you asked me a question.” Followed by facilitating a way to find more information. She also discusses using books to facilitate how different characters demonstrated curiosity.
·       Lesson 3: Asking Genius Questions. This lesson is intended to focus on questioning rather then discovering answers. We can do this in Pre-k by starting with teaching the children the difference between a question and a statement. There is a great handout you can print that lists different ways questions can be started.
·       Lesson 4: Asking the Right Question and the Right Time. This lesson addresses the following 6 types of questions with the goal being teaching the students to be aware of how they are framing questions and for what purpose. In Pre-K we help to lay that foundation for questions by helping our little learners to know the difference between a question and a statement.
·       Clarifying questions
·       Sorting and sifting questions
·       Strategic questions
·       Planning questions
·       Elaborating questions
·       Comparing questions

Chapter 4: Self-Awareness
This chapter again begins with the importance of self-awareness followed by the Habitudes definition.
·       Pitch: Why self-awareness matters.
·       Anchor: Discussion on self-awareness and introduction to learning styles and creation of a learner portfolio. This part of the book was very useful to me. I use portfolios to keep student work in to show administration, parents, and the child their progress and development during the year. This next year I will incorporate student input and goals into my portfolio.
·       Conversations that Last: How to keep the conversation going. This section focuses on creating a self-awareness inventory and provides guiding topics to include.

The next sections provide lessons to use with students.
·       Lesson 1: The Story of Me through using “heart mapping”. 
·       Lesson 2: What Makes Me Me? Addresses scenarios, feelings, words to describe self, and many more guiding questions.
·       Lesson 3: My One Special Thing consists of student interviews that continue to explore their selves.
·       Lesson 4: We Have a Problem addresses the use and power or our inner voices. How it relates to our thinking, learning, and mind wandering. Strategies we can use to help us get back on task. This lesson focuses on reading text but can also be addressed with our little learners who are not yet reading but doing a lot of thinking!

The level of thinking that this book has ignited my desire to address these skills and how applicable this is to Pre-K has impressed me even though it is geared towards kindergarten and up! I have so many ideas!!

Next week, I will be blogging about chapter 5 Perseverance and chapter 6 Courage.

Using this link I was able to find a lot of resources available for this book. Including printable reproducible, suggested resources, and tools. You will have to create a free account to get access to these tools but I would recommend it!  

While the lessons again were geared towards kindergarten and up, with some creativity you can easily incorporate awareness and teaching to these habitudes. Additionally, this would be a great book study to do as a grade level team to discuss creative ways to address these skills in preschool and prekindergarten.

Next Friday I will share my discoveries from chapter 4- Perseverance and chapter 6-Courage. In the meantime, hop on over to these ladies blogs to read about their thoughts on the latest chapters in the book.

Week 3 Classroom Habitudes Book Study and Blog Hop

Chapter 5: Perseverance
This chapter on perseverance is a wonderful reminder of how important it is that we encourage and support our little learners in pre-kindergarten. It will set the stage for future success or failures depending on the child’s ability to persevere even in adverse situations.

Her first of four total lessons in perseverance is a wonderful idea that I plan on incorporating into my classroom this next year! She had a great discussion on the role and importance of failure.
·       Lesson 1: What You Do Makes You! Connection between behavior and self. 
·       Lesson 2: Life is What Happens How others overcame difficult situations.
·       Lesson 3: Failure Leads to Success
·       Lesson 4: Failure is Our Best Teacher 

Chapter 6: Courage
This chapter provides “six essential steps” for approaching situations where courage is required. Excellent steps!

While reading this chapter, I had a moment of reflection and thought of an opportunity missed on the playground where I could have told one of my students that they were courageous and started helping her understand what courage means. This is something I can work on!
·       Lesson 1: Looking Fear in the Face through awareness.  
·       Lesson 2: Using Strong and Weak Words is a lesson on the relationship between words and actions.
·       Lesson 3: Getting Uncomfortable with Being Uncomfortable
·       Lesson 4: Knowing Everyday Heroes

She talks of teachers and our ability to be courageous day after day.

This book is great! Next week I will continue this fantastic book hop with a blog post about Passion and Adaptability!

Chapter 7: Passion
Chapter 7 on Passion was interesting. I was thinking of how young children are naturally passionate about everything they are doing!

However, if you look closely, you will begin to see some areas that a child seems to be more passionate about than others. Maybe one child shows more passion towards interacting with others, caring about living things, not giving up with solving a problem, or engaging in a specific learning task. I see my role in this area as a facilitator of the beginning workings of a potential passion by providing additional opportunities, resources, and support for young children to explore their interests.
·       Lesson 1: Talking about passion.  
·       Lesson 2: Detecting your passion.
·       Lesson 3: Preserving passion

In this chapter, Angela Maiers provided a link to an excellent TED talk featuring Sir Ken Robinson. You can go and check out the talk here: http://www.ted.com/talks/sir_ken_robinson_bring_on_the_revolution

Here is my favorite quote from this chapter!

Chapter 8: Adaptability
Chapter 8 was one of my favorite chapters to read and in my opinion, one of the most important topics of this entire book. Adaptability is such a crucial life skill and many of our young children are quite good at adapting to change. Many changes for young children happen in such a short amount of time that they really don’t have a choice but to adapt. 

·       Lesson 1: Picturing an adaptive learner.
·       Lesson 2: Stepping outside the box.
·       Lesson 3: Turning “Yeah, But’s” into “Yes, How’s”
·       Lesson4: Learning Lifelong Adaptability  

I loved that Angela was very intentional with leaving the topic of Adaptability as the last topic of her book. It is an excellent way to end this book and the saying, ”saving the best for last.” couldn’t be more accurate!

This is the end of our Classroom Habitudes book study and blogging. I hope you have enjoyed reading about this book and its relation to children from a wide variety of ages. I look forward to hearing your stories as they relate to the Classroom Habitudes.  

A huge thank you to fellow bloggers who made this fun and interesting! Thank you  Alissa, Linda, Aimee, and Angela!


  1. I love that we teach completely different grades and still are finding this book so valuable. Can't wait to read what you write next week!

    1. I agree! I wasn't sure how applicable it was going to be but it is! I am also looking forward to the next two chapters.