Be Your Own Kind of Hero

Combining Habits of Mind with Biogrophies

Is your reader a budding scientist, artist, musician or techie? Do they love sports, animals, exploring or outer space? Whatever their interest or passion, there is a matching biography to inspire learning through the lens of a specific person’s life and accomplishments. Those wonderful events, and the path to them, become real moments full of hopes, trials, courage and determination rather than a list of empty facts.

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The ‘Ordinary People Change the World,’ series by Brad Meltzer, is a great way to meet everyday heroes such as Ghandi, Walt Disney and Amelia Earhart.

The short text focuses on drawing inspiration from these iconic heroes, and includes an interactive element as well as factual tidbits that young kids will be able to connect with. The books are a cross between a picture book and a comic book style with narrative text on each page as well as comic-style words and thought balloons.

The people who have achieved so much usually have done so because of their behaviours and habits.
The Habits of Mind identified by Art Costa and Bena Kallick are a, “Set of 16 problem solving, life related skills, necessary to effectively operate in society and promote strategic reasoning, insightfulness, perseverance, creativity and craftsmanship. The understanding and application of these 16 Habits of Mind serve to provide the individual with skills to work through real life situations that equip that person to respond using awareness (cues), thought, and intentional strategy in order to gain a positive outcome.”



Managing Impulsivity

Listening with understanding

Thinking flexibly

Thinking about your thinking

Striving for accuracy

Questioning and problem solving

Applying past knowledge

Thinking and communication with precision

Gather data through the senses

Creating, imagining and innovating

Responding with wonderment and awe

Taking responsible risks

Finding humour

Think interdependently

Remaining open to continuous learning

All biographies lend themselves to generic Habits of Mind tasks:

1. Summarise the challenges and problems the main character faces.

2. What do you think was the most important Habit the character displayed?

3.  For each problem, choose at least one Habit of Mind that the 5. character needed in order to overcome that challenge.

4. Explain how using that Habit helped the character to 6. overcome the challenges.

Explain why you chose this Habit.

On a continuum, order the Habits of Mind that the character needed from most important to least important.

Share a single event which had a MAJOR impact upon the character using text, images or drama.

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Lesley Johnson

Lesley Johnson has taught for 30 years. The facilitation of an ICTPD cluster nurtured her three passions: Literacy, ICT tools and Thinking Strategies. She now runs her online business, Read Think Learn, providing online literacy resources that promote higher order thinking.
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