Recently, I participated in a professional learning experience with LUTE Stem at Lehman College. In one of the courses this Summer, I learned about Costa and Kallick’s Habits of Mind, Pat Carini’s Descriptive Review of a Child protocol, and multimodal composition.
I had some time to think about how to apply these new ideas in the classroom, and in this letter, I’d like to explain my enthusiasm for supporting learners as they work to understand themselves better. I believe that an effective way to guide students toward greater self-understanding is through studying the Habits of Mind. Costa and Kallick, the authors of the Habits of Mind Framework state, ” Habits of Mind are dispositions people use when confronted with problems and situations to which the answers are not immediately apparent.” The introduction of these habits to our learners will benefit them greatly while they work through academic, social, and emotional challenges. One realization that I had while diving into the depth of the Habits of Mind Framework was that I had many moments in my life that I could link to a specific habit. Frequent reflection during and after activities offered me opportunities to pause and identify the habit that I used to work through a task. I think that this metacognitive work is essential for all people, and I am eager to introduce it to the learners in our classroom.
I would like to propose that we develop a mini unit on stories of questioning what they thought they knew. Questioning and Posing Problems is one of the Habits of Mind, and I think it is a valuable tool for students who are on the verge of entering adulthood. If we want our students to be critical thinkers, they must be prepared to inspect information or ideas before accepting new information as “fact.” Our learning objective would be that students would craft a multi-modal story about a time when they questioned something they had previously taken at face value, and came to a greater understanding about the world or themselves because of their questions.
To do this we will need a brainstorming map, laptops/chromebooks/ipads, access to YouthVoices.live and YouTube.
The students will create a video that tells a story about a time when they they questioned something they had previously taken at face value, and came to a greater understanding about the world or themselves in the process. They will collect ideas on the paper brainstorming map. They will write their story and publish it as a document on YouthVoices. They can include a gif or image that deepens the meaning or message of the story, and/or any other modes they enjoy. Students will then record themselves telling that same story and upload the video to YouTube, then embed the video into their YouthVoices document. This multimedia story will appear on YouthVoices for our group of learners. After each student posts their story, they can listen to one another’s stories and leave written or recorded feedback.
When the students complete this activity they will have made progress on these four standards from the Next Generation Learning Standards:
Here’s how I think we might introduce this activity.
I would also propose that the students give each other feedback using YouthVoices. They could use this protocol to provide meaningful and relevant feedback:
This activity should take at least 90-120 minutes to complete, which should allow time for productive struggle. To encourage students, I think we might set up practices where students support one another with technical components such as an expert board.
When they have finished this activity, it would be great if we could ask the students to write and talk about how or if they encountered the Habit of Mind of Questioning and Posing Problems to create their document and video on YouthVoices and YouTube.
I will also use these Habits of Mind to give the students both written and oral feedback while they are working and once they finish their work!
Thank you for taking the time to consider this proposal. I hope you see how valuable this activity could be for our students. Please let me know if you have any revisions that I might consider for this activity. I look forward to working with you on this. Who knows – if it works well – maybe we can do this for all of the habits!
Your Partner in Education,