I consider myself a reflective learner.

        But... what does that really mean?

I don’t know exactly when I started reflecting on my classroom practice, but it was very early on. Maybe even that first year as the year ended. Then I moved from my first Kindergarten job to the second kindergarten job in a different district. As I started that job, I knew exactly what I wanted to do, and more importantly, what I didn’t want to do. In other words, I learned a lot that first year!

Before I knew it, I started...
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reflecting on my practice sooner…around April. Then I spent May and June experimenting on my class to see what new things I wanted to perfect and implement right away in the fall. The kids loved it, although they had no idea I was experimenting.
They just thought I was changing up the routine!

Experimenting in the spring has become a tradition now. I ponder what worked and what didn’t and how I can make it better. I move the room around, try some novel crazy lesson. I ask students for feedback on that crazy lesson. Anything new that I want to have perfected for the new class coming up, I try out in the spring.

And a reflective learner was born!

Now I reflect on my practice throughout the year, no matter what I am doing, and I think I have gotten much better at it. I ask myself questions, and I ponder the answers. Sometimes I ask the same questions year after year!

My new favorite question…..

What would my mentor/s do in this situation? Ha, I learned that question just last year and it has stuck with me!

But the approach pushes me to think outside my own box.

I think we all get to an age where we get tired of listening to ourselves and this question gives me an opportunity to think in a different way from what I normally would.

I think about how I learn.

    I dig deep…
        really deep…
            and sometimes...
                 it hurts.

Sometimes I bruise my self-esteem a little because I am, perhaps, too hard on myself.

            But in the end…I know that I will only grow if I try.


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So what about kids?

Is this a process kids can learn from?


If kids are going to grow into creative and collaborative adults, it is an imperative job skill. They must be able to self reflect and learn from their own successes and mistakes.

I have used reflection with younger students with questions like, “Do you think you understand what was taught?” But now I realize, that was surface stuff.


How DO we teach them to be reflective learners?


That was the question posed on Twitter a few weeks ago. My tendency is to have kids write responses to prompts that would spur reflection. But then I began to think about my own process.


        It isn’t written.

Not at all. In fact, I am quickly learning that even writing a blog post is not where the reflection happens. It happens way before the keyboard is opened up!

        It is verbal!

Yes, verbal. Sometimes, my husband thinks it’s a little too verbal! But my own thoughts are a kind of verbal dialogue with myself.

But kids don’t know how to reflect on what they do or on a project they have completed, much less on their process of learning. I hadn’t really considered that until it was brought up on Twitter. Kids need modeling.

        I want kids to go beyond what did you learn today?
            Beyond what worked for you and what didn’t?
                 I want them to dig deep into themselves…
                        …really deep.

They need to consider the hard questions. And then they need to hear the thinking of others so that they can begin to learn a process that works for them.

What I came up with is an activity that gets kids up out of their seats, moving and listening and sharing with one another. The model I used was the edcamp Things That Suck model…but with a twist in the form of discussion points built right in.

My students enjoyed this process. It was fun, but I am hoping some willing teachers will experiment with me. Try this out for awhile and see what works. And then let me know how it went!

I share with you, here, my early thoughts on teaching kids how to reflect. And I cannot believe that it has taken me this long in my career to get to the point of seriously considering how to teach kids how to reflect. Now begins the process of researching, of trial and error, of consulting my PLN, of experimenting.

            And of course, reflecting on what works and what doesn’t!



Facilitating Student Reflection
Student Reflection: How can we facilitate student reflection? Try using some of these questions with your students.
This slide deck is modeled after the Things That Suck Edcamp Session by Bill Selak.

I'd like to thank Edutopia, their resources are eduawesome!  I'd especially like to thank @mathkaveli for the inspiration and collaboration. You rock!
Some great resources that I found so far:

Let it Marinate: The Importance of Reflection and Closing
By Joshua Block

Creating a Culture of Student Self Reflection
By Clyde Yoshida

40Reflective Questions
Edutopia
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