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Using the Habits of Mind to Improve Writing Brandi Schwertner NSTWP – 2005

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1 Using the Habits of Mind to Improve Writing Brandi Schwertner NSTWP – 2005

2 Goals for Today: Understand the habits of mind Understand why the habits of mind might be considered useful in the writing classroom Understand ways to incorporate the habits of mind in the writing classroom

3 Opening Activity Please briefly jot down some thoughts in your writers’ notebooks about the habits of mind. What do you know about them already?

4 Habits of Mind Symbols Activity Please move into five groups for the habits of mind symbols activity. You will need your sheet called “Habits of Mind Symbol Activity.” Your group will need a bag of symbols.

5 What are the habits of mind? “Dispositions displayed by intelligent people in response to problems, dilemmas, and enigmas, the resolutions of which are not immediately apparent” (Costa & Kallick, 2000).

6 What are the habits of mind? Persisting Managing impulsivity Listening with understanding and empathy Thinking flexibly Thinking about thinking Striving for accuracy Questioning and posing problems Applying past knowledge to new situation

7 What are the habits of mind? Thinking and communicating with clarity and precision Gathering data through the senses Creating, imagining, innovating Responding with wonderment and awe Taking responsible risks Finding humor Thinking interdependently Remaining open to continuous learning

8 What does research say? According to Costa & Kallick, some current trends in teaching suggest that teaching toward state tests creates a tendency for students to strive to become “other-directed, dependent, externally motivated learners” (2004).

9 What does research say? Biemiller & Meichenbaum suggest that “the difference between the highest- and lowest-achieving children is the degree to which they become self-regulators of their own learning” (1992).

10 What does research say? “Failure, self-doubts, learned helplessness, and poor self-efficacy and motivation negatively affect a student’s ability to write well” (Harris, Graham, Mason, & Saddler, 2002) translates into the idea that helping students learn to be self-managing, self-monitoring, and self-modifying can empower students to become more successful in their writing.

11 What does research say? In “High Stakes Assessment,” Canter & Associates suggest that the habits of mind— particularly those of persistence, managing impulsivity, striving for accuracy, and metacognition—can potentially raise student test scores (2003).

12 Results of Action Research Of twenty-four essays graded, eighteen students improved their essay scores at least one point from the district writing sample completed during the second week of school. Overall, students were able to provide a clearer focus, and organization and word choice were found to be better. Sentence fluency and conventions were noticeably improved when students wrote under similar conditions (approximately 60 minutes to write a two-page essay on a given prompt).

13 Connections to Writing Aside from using the habits of mind to improve thinking which can translate into higher all-around TAKS scores, an obvious outlet for the habits of mind is the personal narrative. The habits of mind can be used in critical response to literature. What other ways might the habits of mind be used in writing?

14 An Example of Critical Response Habit of MindExample from Death Be Not Proud Analysis Persisting“Johnny’s attitude…each says” (72). Johnny stayed on top of everything with his diet. Managing Impulsivity “Johnny was feeling…better” (68). Johnny was very calm, and he didn’t panic. Listening with Understanding and Empathy “Putnam, a great man…calls at all” (73). Lester Mount helped Johnny after hearing about his illness. Thinking Flexibly“Carefully…each day” (72). Johnny was open- minded and responsible.

15 Literary Response Activity Please get your copy of the Habits of Mind Reading Log. Please record your ideas as you listen to The Cello of Mr. O. by Jane Cutler.

16 Relating to the Curriculum: TEKS 1a (Write in a variety of forms…) 2a (Use prewriting strategies…) 4a (Use writing to formulate questions…) 4b (Use writing to discover, organize…) 4d (Represent information in a variety of ways…) 7a (Establish a purpose for reading…) 7b (Draw upon background…) 7f (Produce summaries of texts…) 7g (Draw inferences…) 7h (Use study strategies…) 10b (Use elements of text to defend responses…)

17 A Favorite Website The following site contains a quick overview of the habits of mind; it is a particular favorite of my pre-AP English I students. elly_habitsofmind.htm

18 Works Cited Biemiller, A. & Meichenbaum, D. (1992). The nature and nurture of the self-directed learner. Educational Leadership, 50(2), 75-80. Canter & Associates (Executive Producer). (2003). Designing assessment to promote learning. Los Angeles: Author. Costa, A. R. & Kallick, B. (2000). Discovering and exploring habits of mind. Alexandria, VA: Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development. Costa, A. R. & Kallick, B. (2004). Launching self-directed learners. Educational Leadership, 61(1), 51-55. Cutler, J. (1999). The cello of Mr. O. New York: Dutton Children’s Books. Harris, K. R., Graham, S., Mason, L. H., & Saddler, B. (2002). Developing self-regulated writers. Theory Into Practice, 41(2), 110-115.

19 What next? A Testimonial After completing collaborative action research on using the habits of mind to improve writing, I realize that the habits of mind are necessary to help students improve their writing. I also understand that simply teaching the habits of mind is not enough. Canter & Associates suggest that students learn all of the hidden skills of academic literacy: reading/study, thinking, communication, and habits of mind (2003). In continuing action research, my next step is to look at ways to help students increase their reading and study skills, thinking skills, and communication skills.

20 Closing Activity Please briefly jot down your thoughts on the habits of mind at this point. What have you learned that you might not have known before? What questions do you still have?

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