Metacognition is our ability to deliberately think about our thinking. It is the core of all the habits of mind we teach each week. One of my favorite sayings is: “Learning is something we do, it is not something that happens to us.” This is what metacognition is all about. Recognizing what we are thinking, saying, and doing is the first step to controlling and telling our brains what to think, say, and do.
In her book “Switch on Your Brain”, Dr. Caroline Leaf explains how we have complete control of what our brain thinks and therefore, what we choose to do. When we are cognizant about what we are thinking, saying, and doing we are driving our brains. We do learning! This is the power of proactive and positive living. Being in the driver seat requires clear direction and assertive behavior. Thinking about our thinking is precisely that. Too often we allow the circumstances in life drive our actions and we become slaves instead of masters of circumstances. Let’s help our children to think about their thinking this week.
Heart – role play a challenging situation.
Mind – talk through a math problem before writing out.
Body – practice the steps to a sport skill verbally, then do it physically.
Soul – talk about how a piece of music makes you feel and think.
“I cannot teach anybody anything, I can only make them think.” – Socrates
“When the mind is thinking, it is talking to itself.” – Plato
“So few people are really aware of their thoughts. Their minds run all over the place without their permission, and they go along for the ride unknowingly and without making a choice.”- Thomas M. Sterner, The Practicing Mind: Developing Focus and Discipline in Your Life
Be a “SENSATIONAL” thinker! 🙂 Why might a lesson done on a field trip be so much more effective than one done in the isolation of a classroom? Consider how many more senses are used when learning something in its natural environment. Field studies provide the sight, sound, smells, feelings, and actions that make up the entire concept. Imagine how much better our kids learned fractions last week when they went to California Pizza Kitchen. 🙂
We use multiple senses and integrate more areas of the brain to remember knowledge or skills. Gathering data through all senses is the most powerful way to incorporate ideas and skills with any lesson. When teaching your child something new make it more conscious by identifying as many sensations as possible. Go beyond the visual, kinesthetic, and auditory. Ask questions about sight, sound, smell, taste, visual space/perspective. Be a sensational thinking coach.
What a great habit to address as we celebrate George Washington’s birthday and Valentine’s Day! Commitments to the highest virtues and values in life eliminate lesser unworthy desires. The most important things in our lives are those things that we’ve made commitments to: people, ideas, the place we live, careers, and hobbies. One of the best things about making a commitment is that it provides direction in a world that confuses us with a multitude of choices. Saying no to the multitude and yes to the valuable creates peace of mind, clear direction, and leads us to success. Floundering about without commitments is a confusing and confounding way to live. Practicing commitment in childhood years can lead children to healthier and more successful lives sooner than later.
com·mit·ment kəˈmitmənt/ noun: the state or quality of being dedicated to a cause, activity, etc. synonyms: dedication, devotion, allegiance, loyalty, faithfulness, fidelity
Practicing the Habit of the Week
Heart – play with a sibling instead of a friend
Mind – choose a good book instead of a video game
Body – eat a healthier snack at recess or lunch
Soul – practice a faith commitment.
“Commitment is what transforms a promise into reality.” -Abraham Lincoln