Friday, July 31, 2015

Classroom Habitudes : Week 3

Welcome to week 3 of our 4 week book study blog hop with the book Classroom Habitudes by Angela Maiers! If you've missed the last couple of posts, don't worry!  You can catch up on week 1 here and week 2 here.

This week, we dove into the habitudes of Perseverance and Courage.  I must say, these two really spoke to me.  These are the two habitudes that I really want my students to demonstrate in my classroom, and that I strive for every year.  The great thing about Classroom Habitudes is that she gives you a no-fail, simple approach, including dialogue, on how to introduce these habitudes into your classroom.  There's no way your students won't "get it" when you use her approach!

I love how Maiers explains that students show perseverance when they give up TV time to spend hours studying, or they keep trying to complete a new assignment that's difficult.  She's giving them real example of how they persevere, and all students should be able to relate in one way or another to one of the statements.

In the three lessons, she really dives into allowing students to see how their perseverance pays off (or doesn't pay off). She really talks about failure as an amazing thing instead of something to be feared. This is something that's so tough for our students! They always want to be right, we reward the right answers, whether by compliments (good job!) or by grades. It's so important to allow students to fail and to see failure as a stepping stone to success.

In the detailed lessons, students really examine how their behaviour affects their results, whether positive or negative.  She also allows students to examine many examples of success vs failure and to bring students to really understand how failure isn't actually a negative thing! This is something that I've tried so hard to get students to understand, but Maiers really does a great job of laying out all the ground work.  This book, in my opinion, was worth it just for this one chapter.  If I can get ONE student to realize that failure isn't a bad thing by doing what's outlined in this chapter, then I will be over the moon happy!

Courage goes hand in hand with perseverance, because it takes courage to persevere!  It takes courage to keep on going and allow failure to bring success.  It takes courage to learn from bad decisions and to take responsibility for outcomes whether they are positive or negative.

Often, students believe that courage means a heroic act, like saving someone's life, but our students show courage every day! Maiers really dives into how students show courage every day and wants students to recognize and realize this habitude in themselves and others.  They learn to be comfortable with being uncomfortable and how to be able to guide their behaviours, actions and attitude as they face obstacles and challenges in their lives.

This book is really a must-read as you prepare yourself for your classroom this year!  These habitudes will be an amazing positive effect in your classroom this year!

Have a fantastic week!  Make sure to follow me to be notified when week 4 is out!

You can now read week 4 here!

Friday, July 24, 2015

Classroom Habitudes - Week 2

I am so lucky to be participating in a book study blog hop with a wonderful group of ladies! Last week, we discussed our thoughts on the first couple of chapters of the book Classroom Habitudes by Angela Maiers.  If you missed it, no worries, you can catch up by clicking here.  

This week, I'll be talking about chapters 3 and 4.  These chapters are diving right into the habitudes, talking about Curiosity and Self-awareness.

Before I go ANY further, I must direct you to the Solution Tree website, where there are many free printables available.

Ok, now that that's done, let's get on with it!

Does curiosity really kill the cat?

No. It doesn't.  Curiosity fuels our imagination. It keeps the brain active, it keeps us open to new ideas and keeps life interesting!  The more curious you are, the less likely you are to be bored. Maiers explained that a study by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi in 2002 found a direct relationship between attention and our interest in the world.  So nothing is boring if we pay attention to it.  Want to test out this theory in your classroom?  Maiers suggests the following curiosity challenge : pick a subject, focus on curiosity, and turn the subject inside out, asking a lot of questions regarding the subject. Surprisingly, what was boring before, often becomes a little more interesting, as now their curiosity is piqued and they want to get the answers to their questions!

By developing your students curiosity, you really are opening up the whole world for them.  You're getting them to ask the right questions, to ask better questions and to start questioning and wondering about everything around them.  I'm really impressed by this chapter, especially the way everything is laid out, detailed and explained. 

To be or not to be.. aware

Imagine.  A classroom where students know what they need to learn.  Where they know that they'll need to use manipulatives to figure out that math question and they know they need to re-read that paragraph to fully understand it.  Imagine, a classroom where students understand who they are and how it affects them in the classroom.  Wouldn't that be absolutely amazing?

I always knew it was important to have students become aware, but Maiers does such a fantastic job of breaking it down.  Of showing you how to create a Student Learning Profile for your students and going through all the dialogue.  

I am loving this book and truly feel it's one that should be in every teacher's classroom.  Not only does she talk about the habitudes and explains why they are important, but she gives you real content that you can directly apply to your classroom with little to no prep.  

Now don't forget to head on over to these other blog posts to find out what they thought of these two chapters!
*Click here to read Week 3*

Friday, July 17, 2015

Classroom Habitudes : A Book Study & Blog Hop

Last year, I participated in a book study & blog hop for the book The Book Whisperer and I loved it.  I do a lot of reading, and the book study allowed me to really examine the book, analyze and understand it.  The blog hop portion allowed me to share what I had learned with everyone, and hopefully impact a few classroom at the same time.

This summer, I am super excited to participate in a book study & blog hop once again!  The book is titled Classroom Habitudes by Angela Maiers and it's super good (so far, I'm only up to chapter 2!)

For the next four weeks, we will bring to you our thoughts and ideas on this book.  So let's get to it, shall we?

Am I limiting my students learning by trying to educate them?

Maiers explains how all students are capable of genius, and how our classrooms might be suppressing their genius.  Our excellent students are often the ones that do exactly as their told, that ask the teacher how they want it done. Is this genius? No. Is getting a 90% on a math test genius? Or how about the student who always wins the science fair?

In fact, no. That's not genius.  A genius is someone who uses his/her insights, realizes there's a problem and finds the not-so-obvious solution to that problem. You know what they've used? Habitudes. Their habits and their attitude

So when I'm educating my students, am I limiting their potential? Am I limiting their capacity for genius? I hope not. I had a good friend once send me a quote "Morality is doing what's right, no matter what you're told. Obedience is doing what you're told, no matter what's right." I think habitudes play right into morality, and in the end, I don't want my students to simply obey, I want them to grow.  To become the best they can be.

What about me? Am I ready to do this?

In the book, Maiers has a handy Habitudes Self Assessment that allows you to determine how you use the habitudes, how you incorporate them in your life and will also highlight areas where you can improve.

When I took the test, I scored a 69, which was on the low scale of Excellent (69-100). It states that I'm well on my way to becoming a transformative leader, but being so low on that scale, I am definitely taking a look at which areas I need improvement (such as being quick to adjust and adapt - I believe I'm flexible to a point, but I will moan and groan about it!)

Seriously though, adding something else to the teacher's plate?

Man, do I get you.  I really do!  As teachers, we seem to have our workload increasing and increasing and increasing but nothing is ever taken off of our shoulders, and now we're talking about adding habitudes to it as well?

But see, that's where magic happens.  Because habitudes are a part of everything.  And they're an integral part of students learning journey. If you take the time to teach habitudes, the rest comes easy.  Students are magically more engaged and the classroom atmosphere is perfect for learning.

So what are these habitudes?

Imagination, curiosity, self-awareness perseverance, courage, passion and adaptability are the 7 habitudes that are described in the book. As I'm reading that list, those are 7 wonderful habitudes that I am so excited about.

We've touched the first one so far, imagination, Imagination is so important! I look at my 15 month old son, and he can play with anything, anywhere. I definitely want to nourish his imagination and inspire him to always think about every unimaginable answer out there! I can definitely see how some students have this habitude down pat, and others might need a little prodding.

So far, this book is a must-read for all teachers.  Maiers does such an amazing job of describing and explaining the habitudes and HOW to incorporate them in your classroom.  She is thought-provoking, but gives you a real guide, or framework, for teaching and learning the habitudes.  I can't wait to keep on diving into this book!

Until next week!
*Click here to read Week 2 of the blog hop!*