Big Six 2 – Reflection

To reflect is to pause, to take a moment to check in with yourself to see how, or what, or why, you’re doing what it is that you’re doing. When you reflect, you’re considering where you’ve been, where you are, and where you might go. There can be many purposes for reflecting – but all share the notion that it’s the pausing and the creating/composing that’s helping you to do the thinking that needs to happen.

In the language arts classroom, reflection can begin with the student OR the teacher. But it should be a common habit and practice for both. Getting started, though, can be a challenge. Thoughtful reflection takes time, practice, and intention.

Some questions to consider when reflecting, along with a few of the many possible answers to them, are below.

What’s my purpose in reflecting?

  • to remember
  • to process
  • to evaluate
  • to explore further
  • to share knowledge or process
  • to document growth (both in the moment and over time)
  • to be evaluated
  • to think out loud
  • to pause
  • to reconsider
  • to begin again
For whom am I reflecting?
  • my current self
  • my future self
  • a teacher
  • my peers
  • others who might share my interests
When and how regularly is the best time to reflect?
  • on a regular schedule
  • when the mood strikes me
  • at the request of another
  • at major project or learning milestones
Where should I reflect?  Who might have access to my reflections?
  • online in public
  • online in private
  • offline in public
  • offline in private
  • in a shared space with a few trusted others
  • in an anonymous space with an unknown number of others
What are the right tools to reflect with?
  • words
  • pictures
  • music
  • video
  • some combination of the above
Obviously, these are all suggestions to get someone started developing a reflection habit – and not the answers to any and all reflection questions that might arise. And very rarely will there be a single right answer to any of the questions above.

In the long term, COW folks want students to develop the habits of reflection for the purposes that they choose, but sometimes teacher can, should, and will need to suggest and even require that students do other things with their reflections.

How are you making reflection a habit and a routine in your teaching and learning? What does that look like, and how does it work?


March 2016
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  1. Alison Boardman
    March 3, 2016

    In several classes we have started using quick student self-checks weekly. Students first share how they felt during the lesson (confident, bored, creative, etc.) with a ‘check all that apply’ option and then comment on the lesson by answering questions like – Did the lesson matter to me? Were the ideas valuable outside of school? What changes would you make to the lesson? We’ve been looking at students’ responses and thinking about them. We’ve been using the information to inform instruction and we’ve been revising our questions to tap into what seems important. What we haven’t done yet is provided the opportunity for students to reflect on their reflections. That needs to be next.

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