The Common Core Standards stress student reflection and self-assessment. It can be difficult for students to participate in these two activities. But when students stop and think about their own learning, they become aware of their strengths and challenges and begin to make connections between what they are doing and why they are doing it. Students probably think it is pretty cool to make a tornado in a soda bottle. But the experience can be so much richer if they are able to reflect on the experiment and make a connection with real tornados and how tornados might effect their community.
Here are some ways to get students to reflect on what they’ve learned as you prepare your lessons, in any discipline, for the new school year.
Allow time for reflection
Give students 5 minutes at the end of a lesson to think about what they’ve learned, what they still wonder about, and the process they used to understand the lesson. Students should ponder why and how they learned the information.
Provide opportunities to reflect in different ways
Blogging or personal journals are both effective ways for students to reflect. Looking back at their older posts or entries will help them see how their learning or skills have changed over time. But some students reflect better when having a discussion with a classmate. Another fun approach to recording a student’s reflection is using video.
Ask the right questions
It is important that reflection doesn’t become a chore for students at the end of every lesson. Asking the right, open-ended questions will ensure each reflection is a welcomed, new exercise in gaining insight about the lesson. Here are some questions to ask. Be sure to mix it up.
What challenges did you have? What did you enjoy and why? How did your group work together? What worked and what didn’t? Why did you approach the project that way? What would you do differently next time? How do you know you understand the lesson? What helped your learning? How did you feel?
Lastly, talk about and model your own learning. Tell students what you learned and how you learned it. Modeling how you reflect on a lesson will provide an example of the types of reflections they should be making.