September 28, 2022



Dear Colleague: 

I recently participated in a professional learning experience with Lute-Stem about multimodal methods at Lehman College. I learned a lot about ways to incorporate strategies for students’ instruction to be more multimodal. During the summer, I learned about the Scratch program, multimodal literacy, the habits of mind, and the review of a child. 

There was a lot to consider when it came to applying what I learned in the classroom. In this letter, I’d like to focus on multimodal strategies because I believe this is an excellent method to integrate into our instruction. A multimodal approach means a lesson is introduced in multiple ways; it can be performed using visuals, movement, auditory, reading, and writing to meet students’ learning goals. Thus, ensuring that the students are provided with different approaches subject to their learning abilities.  

I would like to propose that we create an activity that incorporates that aspect into the instruction. I would like to implement an activity called “All About Me.” This activity is designed for preschoolers. The students will be given different options to choose from. For example, they can draw a picture, create a poster or record a video of the things they want us to know about themselves. I believe this activity is perfect when including multimodal strategies. Also, since it is the beginning of the school year, it will serve as an introduction to the class and their classmates. This will help to get to know the students and make connections within themselves. Given the age group, the project requires teacher involvement and assistance to complete the activity, which will take about two days. 

To do this, we will need paper, crayons, markers, scissors, magazines, posters, colored pencils, tablets, and google slides.   

The students will have the option to make either a picture, a poster, or a video to present the things they should know about themselves. The final product will be presented on a google slide to the class. 

When the students complete this activity, they will have made progress on these three standards from New York State Prekindergarten Learning Standards: 

  • PK.SEL.2. Recognizes self as an individual having unique abilities, characteristics, feelings, and interests 
  • PK.SEL.4. Develops positive relationships with their peers
  • PK.ELAL.14. [PKW.2] Uses a combination of drawing, dictating, oral expression, and/or emergent writing to name a familiar topic and supply information in child-centered, authentic, play-based learning

Here’s how I think we might introduce this activity. We could give these directions to the students:

During the morning meeting, the class will gather on the carpet. The teacher will talk about the new faces in the classroom. She will explain that new friends joined the classroom as the new year began. She will then say that an excellent way to get to know each other is by introducing ourselves and the things we like. She will introduce herself as a way to model it for the students. She then will explain what the activity will be about. She would ask the students questions such as “What is your name?” “What is one thing you like to do?” What is your favorite color? “What is your favorite food?” 

The teacher will show examples of “All About Me” projects for the students to understand what is being asked. The teacher will work with small groups to assist them when needed. She will work with groups of 4. Before the activity, she will ask the student what of the three choices they would like to pick from. After, she will ask them the questions presented before for them to have an idea. They will be provided with the materials, and the teacher will provide guidance when needed.

I would also propose that the students give each other feedback on their work. They could use this checklist to self-assess and provide each other feedback:

· I can create a picture, poster, or video of the things I like to do

· I can say one thing I like about my classmate’s work

· I can present my creation to my friend

· I can talk about my creation 

This activity should take at least 10-15 minutes to complete, allowing time for productive struggle. (Given the attention span of this age group, this activity could take more time than mentioned above). The teacher will encourage the students to ask questions about the project to promote persistence. This will provide opportunities to check if they answered all the questions about themselves and to revise and add what they are missing to their project.

When they have finished this activity, we can ask the students to talk about how they used one of these three Habits of Mind. Since the students are so young, I will ask them questions about their habits of mind to understand the concepts. Some questions will be: “Did you listen to your classmate?” “Did you wait for your turn?” “Did you create a project? “What was one thing you liked about your classmate’s work?” “What did you learn from your classmate?” Following those questions, the teacher will explain that by answering those questions, they are exercising the habits of mind.  

· Listening with understanding

· Managing Impulsivity

· Creating imagining and innovating

The Habits of Mind will also be used to give the students oral feedback while they are working and after finishing 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.

Youth and Impulsivity

Dear Colleague,

This summer, I participated in a professional learning experience with LUTE-STEM at Lehman College I learned a lot about different frameworks of learning which promote computational thinking, The habits of mind, descriptive review of a child, and multimodal teaching concepts.

There was a lot to think about and to consider how to apply in the classroom, and in this letter, I’d like to focus on how to create a new format which includes a multimodal approach while developing a sense of what the habits of mind offers and how it’s importance in child development because I personally didn’t know that controlling abrupt responses, and impulsive behavior, as well as learning how to think before reacting are skills needed as children grow.

I would like to propose that we create a unit using the habits of mind that students may feel in need to reinforce. I think we can make a group discussion where we share our weakness and strengths. This unit should start with a preview about the habits of mind and how important it is to learn how to manage our impulses. The teacher can provide visuals, videos and even find an expert who’s willing to meet with the class via zoom to discuss the topic.

To do this we will need newspaper, magazines, pictures, and recyclable items. Also glue, poster board, markers etc. to make a collage. Students will create a collage with pictures and item that can easily trigger their emotions on a negative way. They will be presenting their project in class and explaining the skills they feel they need to work on in order to control their impulses.

The students will be making a collage that can best represent the habits of mind they need to reinforce. They will individually be creating an art piece that can best explain their reaction when predispose to situations that they are not yet ready to face.

When the students complete this activity, they will have made progress on these two standards from the New York State Social Studies Framework, and the New York State Standard for the Arts.

  • A. Gathering, Interpreting, and Using Evidence

3. analyze evidence in terms of content, authorship, point of view, bias, purpose, format, and audience.

5. make inferences and draw conclusions from evidence.

  • A: Cr3.1.7 

a. Reflect on and explain important information about personal artwork, in an artist statement or in another forma 

Here’s how I think we might introduce this activity. We could give these directions to the students: the teacher will ask then to write a short paragraph about the situations they feel they are not yet ready to confront. What situations make you feel vulnerable and for which you may not always have the answers. Students will have 15 mins to do this activity individually and later will be assigned to a classmate to exchange thoughts. I would also propose that the students give each other feedback on their work. They could use this checklist to self-assess and to give each other feedback:

  • I can respond to familiar topics. 
  • I can respond positively if the other person knows how to approach. 
  • I can think before reacting if the situation is favorable. 

This activity should take at least 25 mins to complete, which should allow time for productive struggle. To encourage persistence, I think we might share our letter to see if anyone else can relate to others triggers. If it’s the case, how can we work on controlling our impulses? Students will exchange ideas and suggestions about how they manage their emotions.

When they have finished this activity, it would be great if we could ask the students to write and talk about how they used one of these three Habits of Mind.

  • Managing Impulsivity
  • Listening with Understanding and Empathy
  • Thinking about your thinking.

I will also use these Habits of Mind to give the students both written and oral feedback while they are working and once the 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

Proposal Letter Implementing Habits of Mind

Dear Colleague,

Recently, I participated in a professional learning experience with LUTE-STEM at Lehman College. I learned a great deal about the Sixteen habits of mind, how to write a child description that include physical, social, academic, and emotional, and how to use multimodal teaching concepts that include teaching through the using of visual, text, auditory, reading, writing, and kinesthetic methods. There was a lot of information to think about and to consider to apply in the classroom to create a new generation of learners, and in this letter I’d like you to think about focusing on providing students with an activity aimed to develop how to use the persisting habit of mind in conjunction with multimodal concepts to create a digital story using Scratch. Each activity or program will include the use of visual, text, auditory, reading, writing, and kinesthetic. By engaging in these tasks, students will learn how to face challenges they face even with problems where the answers are easy to find in addition to other habits of mind (HOM). This framework focuses on teaching students to persevere in a task through to completion( persisting), devote mental energy to another person’s thoughts and ideas(listening with understanding and empathy), to be able to change perspectives, generate alternatives (think flexibly), to consider options. how to be able to work in groups and learn from others in reciprocal situations(thinking interdependently), to have a questioning attitude; knowing what data is needed & developing questioning strategies to produce those data(questioning and posing problems).

At first, I found that learning about the habits of mind and multimodal concepts was complicated, but after reading deeply, I found out that students can benefit as well as teachers in learning how to use them when confronted with difficult situations. In this proposal, I know students will create their own story using visual, auditory (voice) text, etc., and will learn how to be persistent in obtaining accuracy by using different strategies present in Habits Of Mind.

Using multimodal concepts is a great way to offer the demand of the diverse learning style in our student population. This is an effective method because one piece of work can be read, listened to, or visualized by a person or students who has deficiency in reading text, and using the habits of mind they will approach any situation using the proper skill or strategy.
I would like to propose that the students use the coding program Scratch in which students use coding blocks to create stories where text, audio, images, and sound are included. To do this we will need to create accounts Mindmeister, StoryboardThat, and in Scratch by going to Login to Scratch. Each student will need a tablet or computer with a microphone. Watch this tutorial for more information Getting Start with Scratch

The students will be using three different online learning environments for developing a foot print, a storyboard and creating their own stories. They will use their favorite characters, settings, voice, special effects and/or musical sound or video. They will be able to share their work using the email option or sending it to a cell phone as text. When the students complete this activity they will have made progress on creating digital literacy artifacts, learning the basic vocabulary used in computer science, as required in the New York State Computer Science, Digital Citizenship Curriculum Standards, and the Alignment and Digital Fluency Learning Standards GRADES K-12.

Digital Citizenship: Integration of knowledge and ideas
RI.3.8 – Use information gained from illustrations (e.g., maps, photographs) and the words in a text to demonstrate understanding of the text (e.g., where, when, why, and how key events occur).
RL.3.7 – Make connections between the text of a story or drama and a visual or oral presentation of the text, identifying where each version reflects specific descriptions and directions in the text

Digital Citizenship – Vocabulary Acquisition and Use
A.L.1.6 – Acquire and use accurately a range of general academic and domain-specific words and phrases sufficient for reading, writing, speaking, and listening at the college and career readiness level; demonstrate independence in gathering vocabulary knowledge when encountering an unknown term important to comprehension or expression.

Computer Science: Algorithm Programming
K-1.CT.8 – Identify a task consisting of steps that are repeated, and recognize which steps are repeated.
K-1.CT.9 – Identify and fix (debug) errors within a simple algorithm.
K-1.CT.10 – Collaboratively create a plan that outlines the steps needed to complete a task.
Digital Use
K-1.DL.4 Use at least one digital tool to create a digital artifact.
Here’s how I think we might introduce this activity. We could give these directions to the

Define their own digital footprint
Brainstorm ideas for a storyline about digital footprint
Create a storyboard that covers the major events in their music video “story.”
Program a short animation of their digital footprint music video in SCRATCH

Retrieving Prior Knowledge
Teacher says: “We have been talking about digital footprint and programming recently. Today I would like to show you a music video I created that describes my own digital footprint.”
Teacher will show the class her music video about her digital footprint. (SCRATCH is used for upper grades, SCRATCH JR. can be used for younger students who are less experienced with SCRATCH.) This lesson flow should follow a lesson on basic programming techniques.

Student Instruction
Students will watch videos to get an idea of what they can create with their digital footprint story and SCRATCH/SCRATCH JR.

Teacher says, “Before beginning to write out your story, we must first think about all of the possibilities. If you currently have a digital footprint, what is it made up of? If you do not have a digital footprint yet, what do you want it to be like? “

Guided Instructions
Teacher says, “Turn and talk to a partner about what your digital footprint is or how you would like to build your digital footprint. When people see your name on the internet, what do you want it to be connected to?”
*Note: Younger students will most likely have little to no digital footprint, so encourage them to focus on building a positive footprint.
Teacher says, “Now we will be using a mind map to think about what we can include in our story about our own digital footprint.”

Student Instructions – Digital Footprint
Students will open a mind map on mindmeister. They will need to create an account to save and print their mind maps. In the center they will put “My Digital Footprint” and they will add bubbles about their current digital footprint or what they want their future digital footprint to be. (
Students can work in groups to help generate ideas to add to their mind maps.

Teacher says: “Now that we have all of these wonderful ideas, we need to find a way to organize them. Today we will be using a program called “Storyboard That” to put our ideas into a storyboard. A story board will define the beginning, middle, and end of our music videos. Your goal is to make at least three frames, one to show what will happen in the beginning of your video, one for the middle of your video, and the final one for the end. Remember that you will use this story board to build your music video in

Student Instructions- StoryBoard
Students will open a storyboard ( that they will need to make an account in order to save their storyboards. Students will choose backgrounds and characters for their story and utilize the “drag and drop” interface of the program. They will also place captions along the bottom of each frame to describe what is happening in that scene.
Teacher encourages students to look back at their mind maps to gather ideas for their story board.

Programing in Scratch
1 – Students should have had a basic introduction to programming before beginning work in SCRATCH/SCRATCH.
2 – Students will need a SCRATCH account in order to save their work. (
3 – Remind the students of the layout of SCRATCH- The stage is on the left, the command blocks in the center, and workspace on the right. The sprites used are below the stage.
4- Students should use their storyboards to build their scratch animation. Many times students are concerned about the length of the animation, but I remind them that they need to include all important points from their storyboard rather than focusing on length alone. I also give students the option of recording their voice to narrate, or typing in the narration depending on their comfort level.

Student Instructions – Using Scratch
Students will review the basic layout of scratch
They will use their storyboard to build the music video based on the story they created.

Have students share animations in groups or as a full class
Review the importance of digital footprint. Teacher says: “You can choose how you are represented on the internet. It is the choices you make on what you post that can help you build your footprint. Others can post articles about you that contribute to your footprint as well, so it is important to be a responsible individual in the digital world and outside of the digital world as well.” At the end of each activity I include questions such as, What was your favorite part of the activity? What was the most challenging part of the activity and what did you do to solve the challenge? (Persist) If you could go back and change one thing about this activity, what would it be?(Flexible, Thinking about Thinking) What did you learn about your digital footprint and your classmate’s digital footprints?

Student Instructions – Persistence
Students watch videos and then fill out the google form to provide feedback to the teacher about the activity related to the challenges

Exit Ticket
Share your biggest learning challenge and how it was resolved?
I would also propose that the students give each other feedback on their work. They could use this checklist to self-assess and give each other feedback. I can:
Persist on the task until I get it done
Change my mind and be flexible while working on a task
Think about my thinking to get the work done
Retell my story well with clarity for the viewer
Be creative, imaginary, and innovating

These Habits of Mind can be given to 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 think how valuable this activity could be for our students to develop digital literacy. 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

Regina Multimodal Post

Implementing Multimodal with Scratch

Now texts readers have become radically different I am learning to change the way provide readers materials that meet their demand. I must change the way I deliver my instruction. The “Habits of Mind” thinking flexible helped to understand that the way I taught before need to be changed. In order for me to implement these changes in my instruction, “ persisting” in learning the new methodology is required. The Habits of mind helped me in understanding the attributes required to be an innovative digital educator. Multimodal has opened my mind to see that there is a need for the classrooms environments to change and provide different tools children need to become better readers.

Multimodal literacy is connected to the use of technology to teach literacy that include visual, images, sounds, etc. I noticed that that each mean of communication involved requires some mean of technology usage. The video “Pedagogy of Multi-literacy”  is a great help in understanding how to expose students to multimodal digital communication activities. In the video, Baback demonstrated, all linguistic aspect of literacy must be included in teaching literacy, text, visual, sound, spatial, etc. But if we only view Teachernerdz, we tend to believe that we are going back to the cave age times when only sounds and visual images was the mean to tell story and to communicate. His video calls for a digital video of any instruction and puts written text as obsolete mean of literacy communication, and this is a very radical approach.

Now, in my opinion,  every educator must begin to learn how to differentiate the we teach the generation of digital children. The Scrapbook showed different method of using multimodal, and we must be open minded and understand that each component is essential and we can not only use one aspect of the modality. After watching each video and posting on the Scrapbook, I notice that each aspect of multimodal is to be used by a specific student.

Since I am one part of the educator who need to be upgraded to meet the new generation of students demands in literacy, I will be implementing multimodal related activities in my class next year. As part of my preparation, I created my first multimodal artifact using “Scratch” where I had to use code blocks to create a scene where the character was able to say what was written in text. Scratch is an excellent tools for the teaching of multimodal literacy but it requires persistency and a great deal of “metacognition” thinking.  I would definitely use Scratch to develop and create early digital literacy in my 3-K program next school year. But I understand I must persist in mastering this tool in order for me to be effective in the delivery of instruction.

My Future as an Educator

Habits of Mind has has given me more insight on how to become the educator I want to be.  I want to create a space where my students can learn collaboratively, listen and understand with empathy and have agency and voice.  I also want to ensure I develop a curriculum my students can connect with so they can  understand the meaning and value of what they are learning. 

Regina’s Biography

I was born in the Dominican Republic and my parents named me Regina. I was one of the eleven brothers and sisters who made my immediate family. Our main language is Spanish. My educational history in the Dominican Republic began after I left the village I was born in. I completed my elementary, intermediate, and secondary schooling in the Dominican Republic. Upon completion of high school, I entered college and became a substitute teacher. This marked the beginning of my teaching career. I attended college in the Dominican Republic known as Universidad Autónoma de Santo Domingo (UASD) enrolled in a childhood education program. 

My life took a sharp turn after migrating to the United States. After moving here, I was able to become the person I am today. I developed a connection to the habits of the mind, persisting, thinking flexibly, and listening with understanding. Persisting is not giving up easily when pursuing a goal or objective. Challenges and differences of opinions are elements that need to be overcome as one persists in reaching a goal. This idea is a reflection of when I tried to transfer my school transcript from the Dominican Republic to a CUNY. I persisted for around five years trying to get the transcript until I finally got it. Having a flexible mind, I decided to enroll in a private school to get a medical lab degree and even with the transcript issue, it was still part of my agenda. Few years later, I made a few trips to the Dominican Republic and received the school papers to enter a CUNY school.

I started to see the implementation of the skill of thinking flexibly after working in an after school program (SCAN NY) in a public school in the Bronx. This skill showed me how to use different strategies in different situations to either meet the student or family needs. There were times when I changed my mind when disciplining or designing a lesson after thinking it over. At the same time, the skill of “listening with understanding and empathy” became apparent because while working with families in the poor community, many parents were facing different challenges and were able to listen and find solutions to some of their needs. The same occurred while working with young students in the program who were non English language speakers and I had to listen and find solutions to their problems. During this time working with these families and children, I found out that I had to persist in becoming a teacher because I am able to listen, understand and work with them to meet their social, academic, and any other possible needs. 

Stories of Persistence Proposal

Dear Colleague:

Recently, I participated in a professional learning experience with LUTE Stem at Lehman College. I learned a lot 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 guide students towards self-discover it to build awareness around 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 persistence. Persistence is the first habit and I feel like it is a fundamental backbone to working through obstacles. Our learning objective would be that students would craft a multi-modal story about a time when they persisted through a challenge. 

To do this we will need a brainstorming map, laptops/chromebooks/ipads, and access to Flip (formerly known as Flipgrid).

The students will create a video that tells a story about a time when they showed persistence. They will collect ideas on the paper brainstorming map. Then, they will use Flip to record themselves telling a selected story. They can include music to connect with emotions, a gif or image that deepens the meaning or message of the story, and/or text that highlights and emphasizes certain phrases and words from their story. This multimedia story will appear on a FLIP page for our group of learners. After each student posts an idea, 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:

  •   3W3: Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective techniques, descriptive details, and clear event sequences.  
  •   3SL4: Report on a topic or text, tell a story, or recount an experience with appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details, speaking clearly at an understandable pace.  
  •   3SL5: Include digital media and/or visual displays in presentations to emphasize certain facts or details.  
  •   3SL1: Participate and engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions with diverse peers and adults, expressing ideas clearly, and building on those of others  

Here’s how I think we might introduce this activity. 

  1. We can start by showing them this video: Sia – Never Give up – Animated video – YouTube
  2. Then we can introduce the Habit of Mind “persisting” and define it. We can ask students to identify how the video shows “persisting.”
  3. After that, we can introduce this prompt with the brainstorming map: Think of times when you have persisted through a challenge or obstacle.
  4. After students have a few minutes to brainstorm, they will select one idea to create into a FLIP story.
  5. We will demonstrate and model how to tell a story of persisting. We will also think aloud and show them how to make decisions on how and when to add other multimedia features to the video.
  6. We would confer with students while they work and provide personalized feedback that is responsive to their immediate needs. 

I would also propose that the students give each other feedback using FLIP since listeners can respond with text or with a video or audio recording. They could use this protocol to provide meaningful and relevant feedback:

  • Leave your partner a star by telling them something that they did really well.
  • Leave your partner a wish by telling them something that you wish they would continue to do more of or try next time.

This activity should take at least 60-90 minutes to complete, which should allow time for productive struggle. To encourage persistence, 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 they used the Habit of Mind of persisting to create their video on FLIP.

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,


My Biography

Hello, my name is Crystal Santana. I was born and raised in the Dominican Republic. My earliest education was completed there. I came to the United States when I was in 11th grade. It was challenging to adjust to a new country due to the language barrier. After graduating from high school, I attended Bronx Community college and graduated with an Associate in Arts degree in early childhood education. I continued with my education at Lehman College, and in 2019, I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Sociology with a minor in Early childhood. I’m pursuing a master’s in early childhood education with a Bilingual Extension. My goal is to become a bilingual educator. As an educator, I aim to facilitate my students’ academic development and embrace their uniqueness as learners. I want to be part of their early development as I enjoy working with that age group because I like to see them learn and grow. After reading the habits of mind, I would work on three habits:

  • Managing impulsivity
  • Communicating with clarity and precision
  • Listening with understanding and empathy

I believe that working on those habits will help me become a better communicator, create deeper connections with others, and help me make better decisions. All these habits combined will ultimately make me a better educator.

A Little Bit of Me!

My name is Claudia Suarez, I’m Dominican, I’m Cancer and I am a bilingual PreK teacher. I believe all children can learn as long as they are provided with the appropriate tools and assistance to target the areas that need support and development. I am a proud mom of two boys ages 9 and 2. I am very family oriented and I believe in love, compassion and understanding people’s feeling. I love art, music, nature and food.

While reading about the Habits of Mind, I was able to understand a lot more children behavior. In fact, I was able to identify the mistakes I constantly make when facing a specific situation. I have learned that, reacting with impulsiveness even though is a very common behavior we tend to disregard instead of working to manage our impulses. I understood that responding through an impulse leads to problems, mistakes and inconveniences that we later end up regretting.

On the other hand, in order to teach our students how to behave when they don’t have the answer to something, how to get them produce a response based on prior knowledge, or helping them develop, process, learn, and imitate a critical response either on their own or from others point of view is empirical and needed for their development, especially when facing a situation that is out of their knowledge.

The habit of the mind focuses on finding cues to our responses when facing situations people do not have the answers to. In my opinion, there are important factors we must deal with prior to confronting an awkward situation where we are at lost due to lack of knowledge.

For example.

Managing Impulsivity. Controlling our impulses and abruptic behaviors can be extremely difficult. For many people, been impulsive is the first reaction as a way to protect themselves when they don’t know or have the answer to something. Letting out our emotions is most of time the easiest way to take control of a situation. going off or showing unexpected outburst of emotions and rage tends to be our first response to unknown situation, where we may feel at lost or without the proper knowledge of the subject.

Listening with Understanding and Empathy. Not always human beings tend to take advisement so lightly. It is usually taken otherwise, as an offense or disrespect to their persona and their knowledge. It can be very hard to accept an advice or to listen to others without having to argue back.

Applying Past Knowledge to New Situation. Sometimes we can relate to past situations or experiences to bring them to real life. Reflecting on past experiences is helpful in avoiding falling into the same mistakes and wrong responses. Using background knowledge to build new ideas is essential in our so-called maturing in the way we respond, behave and act among others.

Three Habits Important to Me!

As a literacy teacher and lover of all things related to literacy (especially as it relates to technology), the habits of mind we have been working with have so many connections to the skills I want my students to develop as readers and writers.  Reading through the article, Learning and Leading with Habits of Mind by Arthur Costa, I noted two habits that directly connect to what research tells us effective readers and writers use.

Questioning and Posing Problems

Asking questions is essential to understanding because it helps us process what we are engaged with, such as a text, and actively participate in understanding it.  To me, I think asking questions and posing problems not only helps me comprehend information I’m receiving (such as when I’m reading, listening to someone, or viewing a movie) but it also helps me think critically about that information.  Here’s how I’m making that connection.

I moved to NYC in 2016 from the warm, sunny (well sometimes) lands of Florida.  I was born and raised in Florida and had no idea about winter weather.  I used to freeze when it was in the 50’s/60’s because the temperature rarely dipped below that!  My husband was born and raised in Massachusetts, so luckily I had a cold weather expert in my midst.  Along with reading about wintry weather, I asked so many questions to my husband about snow, driving on icy roads, and even what kind of clothes to get!  I also posed problems, like what do I do if the plow comes in and buries the car and what happens if the snow gets so high we can’t open the door outside?  He was sick and tired of me to be honest.  However, asking questions and posing problems helped me learn more about the wintry weather I was so fascinated with my first couple of years in NYC.  I’ve since learned it’s not that big a deal to my relief because it really doesn’t snow that much or get that high here in the city.  =) Now driving in it?!  Well, I just avoid that at all costs!

Applying Past Knowledge to New Situations

And here, again, we have another strategy that effective readers use to comprehend text. Being able to recall important prior knowledge and use it to understand a text is another high-impact reading strategy.  Research is so strong on the importance of applying prior knowledge that some say it is the single most important factor in determining how much readers will comprehend about a given topic is their level of prior knowledge about that topic (Cunningham, 2006).  This habit of mind extends that research noting that you need to apply it to new situations.

Another thing you can learn about me from reading my bio is that I’m an animal lover.  I’ve had pets of all sorts including a leopard gecko, beta fish, bunnies, turtles, guinea pigs, cat, and am now a proud parent of a puppy.  This all stemmed from the toy poodle that we owned when I was a child.  From my parents, I learned that animals need basic things such as food, water, and shelter, but should also have other things that aren’t essential such as walk, play time, and treats that enrich their lives.  I applied this knowledge to all of the pets that I’ve owned but had to extend that knowledge to learn the specific needs of different species of animals.  Did you know that bunnies make two different kinds of poops and actually eat their own poop?  One is a special poop after they eat called cecotropes. Because their diet is so fibrous, their intestines can’t process all of it and much of it comes out in their poop.  They eat this special poop which is soft and looks almost like blackberries to get the nutrients that they need from their food.

Responding with Wonderment and Awe

So while those two habits of mind relate closely to my current work, another habit that I’ve developed as a lifelong learner is to responding with wonderment and awe.  As a literacy teacher, I was struck with this habit of mind since it is one of the strategies that successful readers use to comprehend text. It seems that it’s not just about what you read, but being curious and wondering are habits of influential thinkers as well!

I wonder how technology adds to these habits of mind? Does our reliance on technology expand the list or add new habits we need to develop?  I’m a bit of a technology nerd in that I love all things dealing with digital tools.  I love tinkering with new platforms, such as Kumospace and YouthVoices, and experiencing awe at the way technology is changing our lives, frankly!  Thus, I think that this habit of mind truly explains my own perspective on life.  To be a lifelong learner, you must marvel at new information, tools, and experiences and wonder what other possibilities are!

I look forward to connecting with you all!

Using Habits of Mind to Play Music Better


My name is Jesse and I am a music teacher with a background in creative approaches. I’ve chosen three of Costa’s Habits of Mind to summarize myself as a teacher and also my approach to learning. Hopefully these will paint an accurate portrait of what it might be like to study with me.

Firstly, is the Habit of Listening With Understanding and Empathy. Costa writes that “[s]ome psychologists believe that the ability to listen to another person—to empathize with and to understand that person’s point of view—is one of the highest forms of intelligent behavior.”

I would agree with this, but I would also argue that empathetic listening is especially fundamental to learning how to play music, both in an ensemble and solo setting. Whether you’re listening (or watching) a conductors cues, hearing and interpreting a drummer’s time feel or, finding a way to fit in with a chordal instrument player’s improvised harmonic structure, or trying to interpret a composer’s musical intentions (even if that composer is yourself!) you’ll certainly be exercising your ability to deeply and viscerally understand what your senses are pulling in, particularly in relationship to others.

Next, the Habit of Creating, Imagining and Innovating. Costa stresses the importances of looking at particular problems from many different perspectives. This is certainly applicable to music. Sometimes we don’t know how to make each other sound good, and the answer isn’t so obvious. Maybe there is something in an orchestration which is causing certain voices to clash. Maybe two people aren’t feeling the rhythmic structure in the same way. Or perhaps someone’s instrument is out of tune. Perhaps there’s a mistake hiding in the score. In any case, the ability to examine situations from all sides is crucial to excellence in music.

Costa also emphasizes that creative thinking involves being able to handle criticism. This leads me to my next Habit of Mind — Taking Responsible Risks. I think that a healthy willingness to embrace the possibility of being wrong is certainly bound up with the ability to solve problems. If we only allow ourselves to find solutions that already lie within our comfort zone, then we’d likely be unintentionally acting as the barriers to our own success .

Some of my most valued lifelong teachers have told me, “if you want to play improvised music well, you have to be prepared to sound bad.” I’ve taken this to essentially mean “not all ideas work so well as well as we think that they will from the outset, but in order to find the good ideas, a certain amount of trial-and-error may be necessary.” This guidance has only rung more true the older I’ve grown and the more experience I’ve gained.

Old Dog, New Tricks: Three Habits of Mind and TPCK

Even after 40 years in the teaching business, I have a great deal to learn.  As I work on my online teaching skills, I realize that there need to be some significant shifts in my habits of mind. I want to focus on the following three habits: persisting, managing impulsivity, and thinking/communicating with clarity and precision.  All three will allow me to be a more effective instructional designer.  I have to be willing to engage in a productive struggle in order to enhance my pedagogical technological content knowledge.  I also have to avoid my natural tendency to move too quickly and then to have to re-do. If I was a bit more precise about what it was that I wanted and needed to accomplish, I would save precious time!