The 5 Habits Framework

1) Evidence (How do I know what's true?)

2) Perspective (Who might think differently?)

3) Connections (What other areas of knowledge are connected?)

4) Supposition (How might it be different if..?)

5) Significance (Is this important?)

Using the 5 Habits

The 5 Habits of Mind: A Framework for Critical Thinking in the Classroom

In the effective classroom, questions are more important than answers.

Critical thinking begins with critical questioning and this skill can be developed to foster positive educational experiences in the classroom.  The 5 Habits of Mind is a framework on which the concepts and application of higher-order thinking can be drawn for a 5 minute discussion or 5 lifetimes worth of contemplation.  In a system which all-too-often shows a laundry line of seemingly disconnected ideas and facts to uninterested and coerced students, the 5 Habits stand in stark contrast as universal criteria for clear thought and engagement with complex material.  The questions of 1) evidence, 2) perspective, 3) supposition, 4) connections, and 5) significance are just as important to consider today as Aristotle did 2,400 years ago or as will a student on the colony of Mars 240 years from now.

The purpose of this blog is to provide a resource for teachers at any level in any subject to incorporate critical thinking into their classroom.  I will post a link from publications designed for students and then provide guiding questions for each of the 5 Habits.  Possible project or activity extensions are outlined at the end as well.  The questions and exercises are not intended to be exhaustive or complete since your students will begin to generate interesting inquiries once they are primed.  Questioning for complex thinking in a classroom is a skill that can be developed and I hope these postings help you in your journey.  If you have suggestions or additional questions to ask or want to relate how you used these brief guides in classroom, I'd love to hear from you in the comments section.   

When our goals are to help students become life-long learners and independent thinkers there can be no better time than the present to give them an environment in which to practice.

Deborah Meier on the 5 Habits

Providing a framework such as the 5 Habits is essential for teacher generated questions; however, students should be encouraged to develop their own questions leading to understanding.  When students practice combining question stems with the conceptual thinking words below (adapted from Rigor and Engagement for Growing Minds), the begin to derive meaning from the topic based on their motivations and interests.

Example Question Stems:  

  • "To what degree...", 
  • "In what ways might...", 
  • "In what capacity...", 
  • "To what extent...", 
  • "At what point..." 

Conceptual Thinking Words:

"To what degree does conflict arise when different groups are in close contact with another?"
"In what ways might the new immigrants change the culture of the South?'
"At what point might the consequences of providing linguistic services outweigh the benefits?"
"How might we use ethics when determining an effective immigration policy?"

Online Question Generator


Paul's Wheel of Analysis and Reasoning

Richard Paul’s Wheel of Reasoning is a thought-provoking graphic organizer that includes eight elements of productive thinking.  It involves logical reasoning and combines both creative and critical thinking skills.  The process is to consider a problem or concept and move through each component in a meaningful way.  Students will practice making inferences, weighing evidence, recognizing different points of view, and other forms of logical reasoning as they work through the task.  Reasoning is a crucial skill for all learners.


The Practice of Subject Matter Universals

Maiorana, V.P. (2018). Critical instruction web site:

Title: A Four-Stage MG2 Subject Matter Display of an Immunization Experiment
(1)What was the end-in-view of the immunization experiment? (What was the objective?)
o The end-in-view of the immunization experiment was to determine if a boy could be protected from smallpox disease.
(2)What activities took place during the experiment?o milkmaid’s hands are infected with cowpox
o boy is inoculated with pus taken from the milkmaid’s cowpox pustules
o boy becomes ill with a mild case of cowpox
o boy recovers several days later
o later on, the boy is inoculated with scabs taken from a smallpox patient
o no smallpox disease occurs in the boy
(3) Consequences of the Immunization Experiment
Positive:(1) Boy did not get smallpox, (2) Human species and their domestic animals gained the protection of immunization.
Negative: (1) Boy was made to become ill, (2) The boy was most likely not aware of the danger to which he was subjected. Therefore, he was an unwitting participant, (3) Dr. Jenner could not be certain of the outcome of his experiment; the boy could have died oF smallpox disease.
(4) Resource Bank (What persons, places, things, and ideas were used?)
o Dr. Jenner                              o cows                      o 8-year old boy
o cowpox pustule                     o dairymaid            o smallpox patient
o injection instruments               o smallpox scabs

The Best Resources for Fruitful Classroom Discussions:

Teaching Students To Ask Their Own Questions:

Paul's Wheel of Analysis Rationale and Template:


  1. I love your 5 Habits!

    This link is not working:
    Paul's Wheel of Analysis Rationale and Template:

  2. Thanks for letting me know! Will fix it now.