Habits and Mindsets are an integral part of teaching the whole scholar. At Northwood Appold Community Academy I (NACA I), we strive to prepare scholars to make a living and a life. In order for scholars to access both outcomes, we integrate Freedom & Democracy habits and mindsets in our school and classroom teaching.
Habits & Mindsets
Students have knowledge of injustice in the world, have informed opinions about it, and know that their voice and actions have value. They can advocate for themselves and others.
Habits and mindsets are an integral component of student learning at Northwood Appold Community Academy I (NACA I). In my classroom, I emphasize the mastery of foundational skills including, reading, math, and programming, in tandem with habits and mindsets. This combination of skills is an important component of developing each students' social and self-regulatory skills in school. As a Freedom & Democracy school, there are three principals that guide our teaching and school philosophy, at NACA I: Superior Academics, Superior Character, and Freedom & Democracy. Therefore, as a teacher I am urged not only to ensure all scholars are performing on or above grade level for the aforementioned foundational skills, but also in both their habits and mindsets and in their knowledge and application of the Freedom movement. Integrating habits and mindsets into the curriculum facilitates "a fundamental set of behaviors for thoughtful teaching and learning" (Costa and Kallick, 2009, p. ix). At NACA I, we believe "the purpose of education is to create a critical, discerning, and creative citizenship for the future of democracy" (Costa and Kallick, 2009, p. ix). Consequently, habits and mindsets are consistently integrated into the classroom to ensure student's onward success in school and growth as socially responsible and empowered democratic citizens.
Arthur L. Costa identified sixteen "Habits of Mind," which he believes "successful people in all professions use the Habits of Mind - consciously or unconsciously - during the course of their work" (Costa and Kallack, 2009, p. 8). The sixteen habits of mind are listed below, three habits of mind: persistence, taking responsible risks, and listening with understanding and empathy are highlighted in this portfolio.
Parent/guardian permission is granted for the student displayed in the image.
NACA I is a Freedom & Democracy school. Three pillars: Superior Academics, Superior Character Development, and Freedom & Democracy guide student learning at NACA I. Each school day begins with our Freedom & Democracy morning meeting and every assembly begins with the United States pledge and the NACA I school pledge displayed above. Communicating and instilling the three principals in students is cultivating a learning environment, which teaches all sixteen habits of mind identified by Arthur L. Costa.
In my classroom Superior Academics is celebrated by displaying each student's end of the week assessment on the Superior Academics wall, if he or she scores 80 % or higher. If students' assessments are displayed then the students are invited to a Superior Academics lunch at the end of the week. Additionally, Superior Character is celebrated by inviting the table group with the most dojo points at the end of every other week to lunch bunch to celebrate their hard work and leadership. Students are not able to achieve any of the three principals without an understanding of the sixteen habits and mindsets identified by Arthur L. Costa.
As an effective teacher, I am "always alert for and seize opportunities to engage, reinforce, illuminate, and practice the Habits of Mind" (Costa & Kallick, 2009, p. 36). Habits of Mind illuminate the classroom environment and provide depth to my teaching. The three highlighted habits of mind in my portfolio, persisting, taking responsible risks, and listening and understanding with empathy, are practices which provide sustained meaningful classroom practices for students. My classroom goal and vision is to ensure on or above grade level reading and writing skills. Nevertheless, as students prepare for more independent years of schooling, it is important that each fourth grade student possess three of the highlighted habits, if not all of the habits of mind presented above. Possession of such skills creates a solid foundation for each student to build upon for success in his or her following years of schooling. As a transformative educator, it is not only important to focus on content, but also to ensure students have skills, habits, and mindsets to access forthcoming content and collaborate with other citizens in our democracy.
Costa, A. L. & Kallick, B. (2009). Habits of mind. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.