Habits of Mind in Art

What do “Habits of Mind” mean when writing with children?

Habits of Mind, developed by Art Costa and Bena Kallick, are defined as the “dispositions that are skillfully and mindfully employed by characteristically successful people when confronted with problems, the solutions to which are not immediately apparent.”

The 16 Habits of Mind are:

• Thinking about Thinking
• Remaining Open to Continuous Learning
• Thinking Flexibly
• Persisting
• Finding Humor
• Striving for Accuracy
• Listening with Understanding and Empathy
• Gathering Data through All the Senses
• Thinking and Communicating with Clarity and Precision
• Thinking Interdependently
• Creating, Imagining, and Innovating
• Responding with Wonderment and Awe
• Applying Past Knowledge to New Situations
• Questioning and Posing Problems
• Managing Impulsivity
• Taking Responsible Risks

All of these dispositions are performed in response to a challenge- that challenge can be a math problem, an art design problem, or creative writing prompt.  By crafting stories based on Corn Dog Art Images, students are able to employ and practice all of these skills. Remember, they are not taught in isolation- they are infused into lessons to help children think about their thinking.  It helps them develop their thoughts, listen to others, analyze ideas and communicate their positions.

Here are a few examples of how you may utilize Habits of Mind skills while using Corn Dog Art Story Starters:

Writing Activity  /  Habit of Mind Disposition

design a story based on the details from the image / Thinking Flexibly, Persisting

write from the perspective of a character in the images / Creating, Imagining, and Innovating

share their thoughts with others / Thinking and Communicating with Clarity and Precision

apply previous knowledge to determine meaning / Applying Past Knowledge to New Situations

apply vocabulary and integrate it into the story / Persisting

listen to the ideas of others / Listening with Understanding and Empathy

Try implementing these ideas in your classroom and see how behavior starts to change.


Download my free eBook, "How to Use Art to Inspire Creative Writing". I hope it helps you the way it has helped my students.
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