Sophmore Advisory

November 2018

Habits of Mind

Author and educator John Holt once said that a “true test of character is how we behave when we don’t know what to do.” Successful students are able to persist, strive for accuracy and precision, and both question and pose problems even when they don’t know what the outcome will be. These three characteristics are based on Costa and Kallick’s 16 Habits of Mind. Costa and Kallick state that a “Habit of Mind” is the ability to behave intelligently when confronted with problems when the answer is not known. A person who behaves intelligently uses many skills in dealing with problems. We picked three habits that are especially important for high school students.

NC Guidance Essential Standards ( RED. SE. 1.1; P. SE. 1.2; RED. C. 1.1; EE. C.1.2; EL.CR.4.2)

Three important habits for high school students

1. Persistance:

Persisting People who get things done effectively and efficiently stay on task and don’t give up. Persistent people identify a problem, determine how best to go about solving it, and then get to work.

Tips on being persistent

• Don’t give up before you start; if you get overwhelmed, ask for help.

• Identify the problem and brainstorm on your own or with others on ways to solve the problem.

• Evaluate your progress midstream. Are things going as planned?

• If you get off track, go back to brainstorming and choose another course of action.

• Evaluate the outcome of your project. What worked and what could you have done better?

2. Accuracy and precision:

  • Ever hear the cliché, “Presentation is everything”? Well, maybe presentation isn’t EVERYTHING, but it certainly makes a difference. For example, if a potential employer sees spelling errors in your résumé or cover letter, it sends the message that you are likely to do sloppy work. Also, teachers find it much easier to grade a well-written paper than one that is full of errors.
  • What are some other ways you can be accurate and precise in your schoolwork? In your extracurricular activities? ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

3. Questioning and posing problems:

Humans have a great capacity not only to solve problems, but to find problems to solve (or even to create them!). When good students struggle with a problem, they know how and are willing to ask questions to clarify things. They may ask questions to gather support of current evidence, determine another point of view, make connections between things, or play out hypothetical situations. Below, match each bulleted word to the numbered question(s) below it with the appropriate topic on top.

  • Hypothetical
  • Alternative Point of View
  • Connections
  • Support of Current Evidence

  1. What is the relationship between oil and water?
  2. What research data do you have to support your claim that blood is thicker than water?
  3. How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?
  4. When we read a biography, from whose perspective do we learn about the subject? The authors? Or the subject of the biography?


If you have questions or need assistance completing this activity please schedule an appointment with Mrs. Ragland by clicking here: