Reflecting on learning and making plans for success is an integral part of growth. As Carol Dweck, Ph.D., author of Mindset, has explained, it isn’t enough that teachers and parents praise children for effort if our children never actually show growth.
In our classroom, students reflect on their learning often. We do this at preset points in the process, and we do it naturally (now that we’re in week 6) when one of us realizes it’s time to take a minute to look at what we’ve been struggling with or accomplished. We also do it every Friday because it provides closure for the week and sets the stage for Mondays when we set weekly goals.
Each Friday includes a theme relating to one of the characteristics needed to face adversity, media of some kind, reflection prompts, and a brief class discussion with compliments for us as a group or for individual students. The entire process takes 20 minutes or less once students get the hang of it, and provides huge dividends when done consistently. Here’s what I have planned for tomorrow:
“If you always do what you’ve always done, you always get what you’ve always gotten.” –Jessie Potter, featured speaker the seventh annual Woman to Woman conference, 1981
Destiny by Fabien Weibel (Be sure to view the video before playing it for students. It can be a bit of a shock! It is appropriate for middle school and high school- They’ll get a kick out of it. For younger students, substitute the movie with a book with a similar theme. WHAT DO YOU DO WITH A PROBLEM? by Kobi Yamada is about a boy who keeps avoiding his problem, but eventually realizes that he should face it head on and find a way to fix it.)
*My students watched this video several times this week as we discussed the Notice and Note Signposts Again and Again, Aha Moment and Tough Questions. We used these signposts to uncover the themes the video presents. (For more information about teaching the Signposts, see “Three Things I Learned by Doing My Own Signpost Assignment.”)
- What is one thing you did differently, as a reader, this week than last week? Did it help you become a better reader and thinker? If yes, explain how. If not, what will you change next week?
- Describe something you tried to do this week that you’re still struggling with. Which thinking strategies might help you with it? What help do you need from me?
- What do you notice about us as a class now compared to us at the beginning of the year? What helped us make those changes?
- Any compliments for anyone? (This question is intentionally left open-ended because kids will surprise you once they’re comfortable enough to share. I ask the question regardless of the stage my class is in and share my own compliments if students aren’t ready to be open with each other yet.)
What types of reflecting do you do with students? The more we share, the more we learn!