One habit is students relying on me when they get stuck on my problem. I stole the idea of "see 3 before me" where they have to talk with 3 peers that are near them or in their group about the question they have. We want students to become better problem solvers but also learn that they can benefit from listening and participating in group discussion.
A second habit is explaining in writing the process used to solve the problems. Students do not like to write. I have begun to incorporate journal writing in class. Students have an essay to complete on each test. The question I get from students is does it count as a bonus question or do I have to answer it.
A difficult concept for students is the properties of quadrilaterals. The concept is taught prior to students coming to me in 7th grade. I use a pre-test to see what they have retained from the previous years. I then use graphic organizers or concept maps to allow students to identify the properties. It helps for students to create the shapes and list the properties while working in groups. They list similarities and differences identified. Students are allowed to create ways for students to learn the properties and are allowed to create posters that are displayed and used for reference in the classroom.