Establishing Habits for School Success

What are the habits your advisees need to succeed through their middle school years and beyond? This month focus on activities and discussions that help your advisees understand the ORMS Habits of Learning and what it takes to be successful in school and life.

October Goal Setting Resources

You Can Learn Anything

1. Watch this Khan Academy video with your advisory. Talk about it. What role does failure play in learning? This 90 second video can be a great way to kick start a month focused on Habits of Learning.

The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Teens

Written by Sean Covey, this 1998 best-seller outlines seven habits, that when adopted can help young people achieve their goals.

1 - Show this image to introduce (clicking on the image will make it bigger) the 7 habits to your advisory. Explain to them that you will spend some time over the next 7 days talking about the individual habits. Follow that up by showing the introductory video about the 7 habits.

2-8 - Each day work your way through the videos below. Use the video as a starting point for conversation with your advisees. Get your advisees to internalize each habit by putting it into their own words and thinking of ways the habits can be applied in their life.


  • 9 - Teaching kids to struggle - This activity puts students in teams to re-create a paper model. It can be frustrating and challenging but a great opportunity to discuss how to face challenges with a growth mindset. The activity description is at the base of the page. Read this blog post to see how a teacher worked through this activity with their students.
  • 10 - Risk Taking Game - this youtube video will walk you through the set-up and rules of the Risk-Taking Game. Supplies needed for this game a container of some sort, masking tape, a marker, paper. In teams students play a game that requires them to decide the balance of risk and reward for a challenge. The take away is that it is often worth taking a well-thought out risk.
  • 11-12 - Binder Clean Out Day and Binder Organization Day - just like it sounds - have your advisses clean out their binder one day. The next day have your advisees organize their binders.
  • 13-22 - Ten fun games to practice self-regulation skills - Here are 10 FUN games that require no preparation or equipment to practice and learn self regulation skills.

Little Expeditions

23 - Inspirational videos can prompt a lot of discussion. Little Expeditions is a great example. Watch the video with your advisory and discuss it with them. Have does this video relate to Growth Mindset? How does the concept of exploration fit into our lives and our education? Check out this blog post for some discussion on the using this and other inspirational videos with your students.

Overcoming Obstacles

24-27 - 25 years ago development on a research-based life skills curriculum for middle and high school students began. They have made this very thorough curriculum available for free. It is highly recommended that you register with Overcoming Obstacles and check out some of the resources they have to offer. In particular you should check out their activity-based curriculum. These four activities might fit nicely into your advisory plans for this month:

  • Developing a Positive Attitude (pgs. 235-241) - This comprehensive lesson plan divides students into two teams: the Cans and the Cannots! Through this demonstration students explore the value of positive thinking and practice using encouraging language and employing a positive attitude when faced with stressful/challenging situations. Furthermore students analyze through a three column note activity how positive and negative attitudes can lead to positive and negative consequences. A culminating activity has students writing their own plans for maintaining a positive attitude.
  • Being Accountable (pgs. 243-248) - Materials: a deck of cards - This comprehensive lesson plan encourages students to hold themselves accountable for their actions. A beginning activity has students explore how they would handle a moral dilemma. Often when students hold themselves accountable for their actions, others view them as “trustworthy,” responsible, and reliable. An extension activity divides your class into four teams; each team faces common dilemmas and encourages students to problem solve and act out solutions that encourage accountability.
  • Managing Time (pgs. 255-260, Sam’s schedule pg.269, Your schedule pg.271) - This comprehensive lesson plan encourages students to set priorities and manage their time by creating to- do lists. Students work through a time management exercise by setting priorities for Sam and rating his tasks with a 1(must do), 2 (could do), 3 (to do later). Through discussion students try to reach a consensus. After the activity students apply what they have learned about time management and setting priorities by listing daily demands in their schedule, rating them, and creating a priority to-do list.
  • Getting Organized (pgs. 279-283, Organizational Checklist pg.321, My Study Week pg.323) - This lesson is collaborative. Students share ways they have learned to organize their subject related materials (notebooks and binders) over the course of a quarter. Students also share their time management and study habits. The outcome is that students create systems for planning, organizing, and studying effectively.