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Designing Curriculum with Habits of Mind

Designing Curriculum with Habits of Mind

October 13, 2022

Enter most schools today, and you will hear discussions about one of the most significant losses for students during the pandemic -- their opportunity to think interdependently -- to socialize their learning as they develop their intelligence. Research suggests, to make this happen requires a combination of beliefs, dispositions, and skills that are embedded in the curriculum: 

  • Belief in every student’s right to develop the capacity to make sense of the world and figure things out over time
  • Dispositions, such as the Habits of Mind, that support the use of critical thinking
  • Skills that include social and emotional learning in addition to powerful cognitive strategies

Our partnership between the Institute for Habits of Mind (IHOM) and Eduplanet21 provides a powerful integration for educators to develop all three critical ingredients that can integrate our learning paths and apply the learning to a curriculum organized through the three stages of backward design.

What are the goals of learning? 

As we begin any effective curriculum design process, we examine our content, skills, and concepts identified in standards, as well as what core dispositions need to be cultivated in students to grow their success. But which dispositions are appropriate? 


IHOM offers an Awareness Badge in which participants are introduced to the Habits of Mind. Many of the people who take this introduction say that although they were aware of the Habits of Mind, this introduction helped them dig more deeply into the meaning of the habits -- especially realizing how they help themselves as adults build their capacity to engage in teaching and learning more thoughtfully. 

How do we thoughtfully grow thinking with students?

Once the dispositions have been identified, teachers can turn their attention to modeling and coaching for growth. IHOM builds teacher capacity through an Implementation Badge in which participants start to design units and lessons including the habits of mind as they personalize their approach to learning. 


When they are using the power of the curriculum planner, they can document and share their designs in Stage 3. Teachers talk about how exciting it is to use this technology to collaborate and continue to grow their practices.

In what ways can we collect evidence of growth over time?

The development of dispositions and success with cognitive tasks go hand in hand. The final Assessment Badge focuses on formative and summative assessment design to make these connections more transparent to students. 


Teachers learn how to help students become more self-assessing and discover more about themselves as learners. When using the curriculum planner, they can detail their ideas in Stage 2, attending to not only the content of student learning but also the critical strategies and processes they are developing.

What this looks like with students

The chart below is how Liz Locatelli brought this into her training with teachers in NYC:

  • In column 1, teachers designated the habit they wanted to focus on with their students, 
  • In column 2 they mirrored the language they hear from students about their emotional state in entering the challenges of the tasks, 
  • In column 3 the teacher co-creates a learning target with the students and, 
  • In column 4 the student and teacher identify some of the strategies they might use as they grow their capacities to meet the curriculum challenges. 


Designing Curriculum with Habits of Mind


With Eduplanet21, you and your team can access the Habits of Mind Institute, pursue the badges with support from the Institute for Habits of Mind, and integrate the Habits of Mind into your curriculum development process. 

To learn more, contact us. If you are an individual seeking to pursue the Habits of Mind Badges, please contact IHOM Consultant Michele Debellis (



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