Reflection by the students is an important piece of blogging. Letting them write their way into their own understandings and letting them discover answers to the questions they need to ask. They need a lot of help with this at the elementary level. The high school students I worked with last year could have used this even more. They have not been asked to do much in this area except at a very superficial level.
So, how do you teach reflection? I think you teach it by modeling it. I want to do a better job of that this year. I need to do more thinking aloud for them, blog more about this piece on the class blog, and develop better questions for them to ponder. I think if I pair them from time to time where they can pass ideas back and forth and talk about how they are learning will help.
Asking students to communicate the results of their thinking is difficult for them, both out loud or writing it. I need to work in times for this. They need the practice to learn to be clear, convincing and even precise. I need to discuss the meanings of the words that go along with reflection.
Hmmm, maybe start with what did you learn this week? How did you learn it? Did it mean anything to you? Why or why not? What would help you understand it better? How might you apply this learning? Can you make a connection to what you learned? Did it make something else you learned come into your mind? Did it clarify anything you had wondered about in the past? Is there anything else you might like to learn about this topic? Supposeyou had to teach this to a younger student? Could you write a description of how you would do this?
Now I am just brainstorming some possible questions. Maybe the students themselves could add to this list, call it something like “our reflection questions” or “reflect specs”.
A reflection is really a strategy for learning. We need to foster more reflection in our classrooms. Let them be creative, off the wall, branch out with their thoughts. Students need to think aboout what they are doing so they can use this information for future decisions.
We need more conversations, both verbally and on blogs. Maybe I could have short prompts that they respond to by picking one of the questions above. I’m throwing out quite a list. Of course, I would not use them all at one time.
I want them to use blogging to help them explore, clarify, and think a little deeper about the ideas and concepts they learn in their classrooms. We might need to use podcasts at the beginning to let them just talk together about what they have learned.
Now I have to work at creating the environment where they feel free to respond openly. They have to honor each other’s thinking and build together.
I know I won’t have time to do this as much as I want but I’m hoping I can model it so the teacher will be interested in continuing it when she can in other moments in the classroom, or better yet, let them blog!
This is a question I have used in the past with kids.
- What was going on inside your head when you were thinking about that?
At first, they look at me like I have lost my mind. They have not been asked such a question before. However, I’ve found that it leads me down a road where I can really assist them in clarifying what is going on inside their heads. I need more questions that I can think about to help them reflect about their learning.
Now I am just letting it flow without trying to make this a polished product. Can you add to the list? What are your thoughts?Â Have you done this in other areas than blogging in your classrooms? Any suggestions are MOST welcome!