Habits Worth Having

What Are The Habits of Mind, Body and Action?Our students have lots of habits. Rather than trying to break them, we’re shamelessly celebrating them in our just-released school videos on how we develop lifelong learners at KCS.

If your habits need a little tweaking, you might be inspired by some of our students and the habits they’ve already embraced in their lives:

  • A student in grade 4 whose favourite habit is to take responsible risks, because it reminds her to try something new
  • A student in grade 7 whose favourite is to persist, because it’s what he knows he most needs to do
  • A student in grade 6 whose favourite is to share what you know, because if everyone did so we would all be smarter. Besides, collaborating is fun.

Check out our KCS Habits of Mind, Body and Action and think about which is your favorite? Why? Then share it with others, and do a little inspiring of your own.

Star Habits, Wish Habits

I couldn’t wish for more than what’s happening with our Habits.

We’re starting our third year since the official launch of our Habits of Mind, Body and Action. Anything new needs time to settle, time for all to adjust (or in KCS terms, time to exercise one’s flexible thinking), plus time for glitches to surface and tweaks to be made to make what’s new into a perfect fit.

Lots of such activity took place over the past two years while the Habits were still relatively new. This August, when teachers were asked about how they plan to integrate the Habits in their program for the upcoming year, it was eye-poppingly evident that the adjustment is behind us and we’re now going full speed ahead with our efforts to directly teach the habits that matter most for success in life. Collectively, faculty shared over one hundred ideas they have to teach and leverage the Habits in their classes. Here is a sample:

  • Leader of the Day with a special role to help the class
  • Class mission statements to support growth of the Habits
  • Student-made posters of the Habits
  • Student goal-setting on the Habits
  • Reference to the Habits in school assignments
  • Discussion of the Habits in class meetings and novel studies
  • Students teaching the Habits to other students
  • Students teaching the Habits to their parents and grandparents
  • Connecting the Habits with the study of heroes and leaders

One idea that is particularly out of this world came from grade 4. The students are identifying ‘Star Habits’ and ‘Wish Habits’. A ‘Star Habit’ is a habit they feel they have already established and of which they are proud. A ‘Wish Habit’ is a habit they want to focus on developing in first term. The students looked over all 26 Habits, reflected deeply, made their choices, and explained them in the context of home and school. Star Habit, Wish Habit as their ‘Star’ and ‘Wish’ Habits.

Like the spirit behind our Habits initiative, the students have wishes with a plan. And in the same way that our wishes to teach the Habits are coming true, I’ve no doubt our students’ ‘Wish Habits’ will also come true. What are your ‘Star’ and ‘Wish’ Habits? And what’s your plan to make your wishes come true? If you need some help, feel free to ask one of our grade fours.

Andrea Fanjoy,
Assistant Head, Academics

You can follow Andrea on Twitter @afanjoy.

The Leader in All of Us

Read any good books over the summer?

I hope you all had time to enjoy the ‘dog days’ of summer. I know you didn’t have homework to supervise and uniforms to wash. While you may have continued working, I hope summer offered you time to slow down and curl up to a good book.

Our teachers did. All of our teachers read the book The Leader in Me, by the late Stephen Covey, renowned author of “7 Habits of Highly Effective People”. Every summer, KCS faculty read a common book that relates to an area of focus for the upcoming year. I stumbled upon The Leader in Me while browsing through the shelves at Chapters last Christmas. It told the stories of schools around the world, not too many, that had embraced what we also embrace at KCS: Habits that matter and ubiquitous student leadership. These are exceptional schools that have had exceptional impact. We’re on the same path.

Everyone has the power to be a leader. In fact, we exert our influence all the time, often without even knowing it. Last week all faculty watched Drew Dudley’s TEDxToronto talk “Leading with Lollipops” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hVCBrkrFrBE ). A few words and an impromptu gesture on his part served to keep a peer in university and catalyzed a relationship that led to marriage. And he doesn’t even remember it. We’re all leaders, whether or not we know it. By recognizing and encouraging leadership in everyone, children included, there’s no limit to the positive impact on the world.

This may not have been the theme of the books you read over the summer. But I thought you’d like to know that this was the theme of what we read. Leadership is ubiquitous at KCS. And little by little, our students help make the world a better place. There’s always room for more. We hope you’ll embrace our Habits and join us.

Andrea Fanjoy,
Assistant Head, Academics

You can follow Andrea on Twitter @afanjoy.