Are you all ready for week three of the Classroom Habitudes book study? I am loving this book! Click here to read my week 1 post and here for week 2.
In case you aren't familiar with the book, here's a listing of the 7 Habitudes covered:
Today I'll be talking about Chapters 5 and 6: Perseverance and Courage. My school does a monthly virtue focus and Perseverance and Courage are the two Habitudes that we've looked at in our virtues. That being said, they are the two I would say my students are most familiar with.
In math, one of my first lessons I do look at the traits of a mathematician. I do the same thing with reading. In both situations, perseverance is one of the traits. Students need to rank the traits in order of importance. With math, other traits include teamwork and flexibility. Perseverance is usually in the top three traits - last year it was ranked trait number one by my students. A good mathematician can never give up. (Which comes in really handy in a word problem when they come to me and say, "I'm done!")
According to Angela Maiers, students need to see several examples of perseverance around them. Many positive role models are needed for them to see the benefits of perseverance. And unfortunately, many students aren't having these opportunities in their homes and communities.
Perseverance is also a tricky Habitude because it requires patience and self-awareness and self-regulation skills to already be developed.
A picture book a friend has used to teach perseverance is "Stuck" by Oliver Jeffers. In this book a young boy gets his kite stuck in a tree and in his efforts, many other items become stuck too. But, he perseveres to get it out!
Angela suggests you show the following word to your students and record their opinions around the word.
She wants them to connect to the word with feelings and experiences. This is something I'll be adding to my classroom for sure. Failure is an essential piece of learning. It is nothing to be ashamed of. Failure will happen. Angela says, "Failure is not your enemy; perfection is". I've seen this issue in several students, and sometimes, in myself too!
I like this next quote, because even though it's in the perseverance section, it ties nicely into courage.....
"Students are willing and able to take the ride ad risk outside of school but don't transfer the same willingness to plunge within the confines of classroom work." Yikes! I've seen this in action, but haven't really wondered why until I saw it written out like that. Why are students willing to take a risk outside of the classroom, but not within? Is it because their peers are nearby? Is it because the buy-in isn't the same? I'm not sure....
A picture book I like to use for teaching courage is, aptly named, "Courage", by Bernard Waber. It has many great examples of every day courage and makes it clear you can be courageous without the big, heroic efforts that are usually associated with courage.
Finally, Angela argues that students must be willing to get uncomfortable. She says that when they are comfortable they are at risk for boredom, disinterest and resistance to change. When you think about a growth vs. fixed mindset, it becomes clear that the willingness to become uncomfortable is essential to a growth mindset. Again, another takeaway for me and my class lessons for next year.
Join me next week to check out the final two Habitudes: Passion and Adaptability.