Thursday, August 7, 2014

Reflection in the Classroom

As teachers, we know how important it is to reflect.  We reflect every time a lesson goes good, bad, terrible, or horrendous.  But how often do we have our students reflect?

Typically we set aside time for our students to reflect after they've written an essay, right?  This is usually part of the peer review process where they think about what they did well in their essay and the areas that they struggled in.

But what if I told you that our students should be reflecting all of the time?!

What if I told you that having our students reflect before our units would enable them to succeed?

It's true.  Having students reflect on their past experiences, what they expect out of a situation, or what they hope to get out of a learning experience teaches them to frame the learning process in a different light.  It also allows them to buy into the learning. If they have already invested time and energy into reflecting on the unit before it begins, chances are they will be more engaged throughout the unit.  

I suggest that you start the school year and every major unit off with reflection. Remember, reflection doesn't end when you call time.  It is something that students should be readdressing throughout the learning process. When "problems" come up, have students look back at their expectations.  Have them imagine what they were thinking then and how they would've expected to handle these "problems".  After the unit, have them look back at their reflections to see how accurate they were.  In what ways?  There should be a constant cycle of reflection during the learning process.

Reflective Window Frames

To make your life a little bit easier, I created Reflective Window Frames. These window frames are set up to have students reflect on what they want out of their teachers, partners, and group members.  Better yet, they're Copy & Go.  No work required! 

Print 'em off and hand 'em out!