The Habits of Learning Grid is a progress monitoring tool that helps parents, teachers, and students develop each habit over time, setting, and age.
Last week I wrote an introduction to the Habits of Learning curriculum. Habits of Learning is an open-n-go curriculum teaching educational skills. Habits of Learning allows you to target the ten specific skills required to become an independent lifelong learner.
Today I will introduce one of the unique and critical building blocks of Habits of Learning: The Grid. The Grid is a progress monitoring tool that helps parents, teachers, and students develop each skill over time, setting, and age.
The Grid facilitates a spiral review of each skill and promotes mastery over time. You will use The Grid to evaluate student progress after you have taught each habit and then continue to use it to monitor progress over time.
Navigating The Grid
The vertical section on The Grid lists the ten Habits of Learning with the matching mantra. The mantra is a short tag line to quickly remind students of the meaning of the corresponding habit.
Along the top row, you will see the Habits of Learning levels. These are the levels of development for each habit. Learning a new habit is an ongoing process that follows a predictable pattern of development.
Learn. Explore. Practice. Motivate. Master.
After a habit lesson has been taught for a week, that habit may not be mastered. Most students will be in the learning or exploring phase of development.
Move on to the next habit in the teaching cycle. The Habits of Learning lessons have constant reviews and reminders built into each lesson. The lessons create a spiral review of each habit as the weeks go on. The Grid will help you develop mastery of each habit over time.
Habits of Learning Levels
Level One: Learn
During the learning level, students can verbally define the habit using the matching mantra. They have had the lessons on the habit, but may not have completed all the exploration activities included in the lessons. As a parent or a teacher, you have observed the student demonstrating the habit 0% to 39% of the time.
(I know 0% sounds silly, but you have to start somewhere! Some of these habits are hard. Sometimes students will have NO skill in a particular area. That’s okay. Progress is progress. New habits can be learned!)
Level Two: Explore
In addition to the level one skills, a student at level two will have completed all of the exploration activities included in the lesson series. They have also started demonstrating the habit between 40% to 69% of the time.
Level Three: Practice
After a student has had the habit lessons and done the exploration activities, the student is encouraged to practice the habit. New habits can take a lot of practice. Cues will be given in new habit lessons to practice previously studied habits. At this level, a student can demonstrate the habit at least 70% of the time.
Level Four: Motivate
Between levels three and four, start looking for the subtle shift from external motivation to internal motivation. At this point, the habit should begin to become an actual habit! Reminders become infrequent. As you observe, you see the student applying the habit in different settings. Students even start encouraging other students in the habit. You should look for overall success about 80% of the time.
Level Five: Master
Mastery is the goal, not perfection. No one will be responsible 100% of the time. No one is perfect. But, at this level, look for a student that shows internal motivation for this habit and can demonstrate the habit in multiple settings at least 90% of the time.
Using the Grid
Before you begin the Habits of Learning program, reflectively take a baseline of each of your students. Don’t worry about if you have completed lessons or actives (because you haven’t), think about the guiding percentages and the words the describe each level.
Mark the level for each student in each habit area. Make sure to label each grid with the student’s name and then date. Then sit these grids aside.
After teaching the ten habits, take the time to rate your students in each area. After this first rating, choose a predictable interval to re-rate each student. This re-visiting allows you and your students to see growth and celebrate progress. Additionally, it helps open up discussions of problem areas and facilitates finding solutions.
After teaching the first cycle of the ten habits, go back and review your baseline rating. Celebrate the growth and improvement. You will be amazed at the progress!
When rating a habit, don’t get too caught up in the percentages. The percentages are guidelines to help measure behavior. When making a level assignment, reflect on data such as assignment completion, mastery of the material, progress in learning, and personal behavior. But, focus on the name of each level and match that to your expectation of the habit.
Don’t be scared to go with your gut on the ratings. Your expectations are going to vary for younger and older children. That’s okay. When you teach each habit, you will define these expectations for your classroom or home and your students.
Reflect and Praise
Most importantly, after completing The Grid, review each area with your student. Compare their past progress with their current progress. Praise growth and set goals for improvement. Over time, look for mastery in each area. Once the mastery level is achieved, encourage the student to become a mentor to promote progress in others.
Continue to Teach
After teaching the ten habits, I would recommend cycling through the lessons again to continue to reinforce the concepts. In contrast, you may want to spend a week or two on a specific habit area that is weaker than the others. Either way will work just fine. Just keep revisiting the habits to keep them fresh.
As students progress from year to year in their education, they will move up and down the levels. Maturity may dictate a higher standard be reached to re-gain a mastery level. At the commencement of each school year, start fresh, encouraging growth during that year to the highest standard of mastery for that individual student.
- Print “The Grid” for each student
- Reflectively rate each student/child
- Name, date, and file away each grid for future review
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