Tag Archives: reflection

Thursday’s Tip: Proof of Learning

GEAR BinderI’ve been thinking about this for some time.  But, you know how it is, there are things you think about doing in your class and things you ACTUALLY do and sometimes, those two things are separate.  I’m jumping in this year.  I see my students one day per week for our pull-out gifted program.  We study things in the news, we learn about things we care about, and sometimes, topics and questions literally just blow down in front of us like a leaf did last year which led to a study of the veins in the leaves.  Our studies… I define the objectives in my plan book. We set learning targets.  I ask them to set goals.  What’s missing?  The record of what IS learned.  Sure, I assess in lots of ways: walking around, observing, collecting projects, watching presentations.  What is missing?  The very record that could hold the key to it all: the record of THEIR thoughts.  I’m not talking about grades. In fact, I’m talking about the opposite of grades… authentic, meaningful assessment.   Enter the GEAR binder.

G: Goal-setting: No matter the topic, students set their goals. What do YOU want to learn about?

E: Engage: Engage and involve yourself in the learning. Reading, notes, projects, ideas, thoughts, photos, new words learned, questions thought of.  A literal record of engagement. How are you learning it?

A: Assess: Along the way, answers to questions asked by the teacher, questions asked by the student, proof that learning IS occurring. What did you learn?

R: Reflect: When it’s all said and done, what does this ALL mean?  We have to ask student to tie their learning to REAL life.  We have to allow them a chance to explore the connections, develop new thoughts, and plan for future studies, projects, and learning.  What do you think? (Connections, New Thoughts, Questions, Ideas)

Right now, these binders are just empty spaces with three rings.  In a few weeks? I am hopeful they will be filled with a student learning plan, a goal planning sheet, a parent comment log, a list of classroom research resources…. and more.  Possibilities? Scanning portions for a digital component.  Photographs of projects. Learning style survey results.  Student feedback from classmates. Independent self-managed projects. A living portfolio. Most of all?  They will be filled with proof… proof of learning.

Post by guest contributor Krissy Venosdale of TeachFactory.com. Veteran eMINTS teacher, gifted education teacherTweeterphotographer….. and that’s just her day job.Original post August 17, 2011 on TeachFactory.com.

Thursday’s Tip: Projects to Encourage Student Reflection

In our previous post, Helping Students Learn Through Reflection, we shared questioning strategies to engage students in reflective thinking as a way to transfer learning beyond subject areas and beyond the walls of the classroom and shared some online tools that might facilitate those conversations.

On a daily basis eMINTS teachers craft lessons that ask students to think about and address real-world problems. By embedding reflective activities into those lessons, students can have authentic opportunities to learn from their experiences and then be able to apply that learning to new situations.

Some projects teachers may want to plan into classroom lessons to facilitate reflection could be using portfolios, journals, surveys, and even multimedia projects.

Portfolios that include students selecting items to showcase their learning and then reflecting on why they chose those items will require students to evaluate their learning and possibly set future learning goals. Weebly for Education, an online application for creating websites and blogs, is an option for creating student portfolios. Students can include video, images, and files by uploading them to their site which can even be password protected.

Reflection journals, with daily prompts or a scoring guide, can purposefully direct reflection and allow students to be constantly growing. You might use a blog post with students commenting on reflective questions or have students make posts to individual blogs. Check out WordPress, EduBlogs, or Weebly for Education to create class and/or individual student blogs.

Using surveys can help students monitor their progress over time by responding with both qualitative and quantitative data that could even be charted and analyzed for personal growth. Google Docs allows for creation of survey’s that can be completed by learners. The data is automatically compiled in a spreadsheet and could possibly be turned into charts or graphs for easy analysis.

Creating multimedia projects is another way that students can reflect on what they have learned at the culmination of a unit or project such as a WebQuest.  Some ways you might use technology to put this into practice could be creating still or action movies using iMovie, Movie Maker, Animoto, or even VoiceThread which can add collaboration.

As you consider using these and other types of projects to facilitate thinking and reflection, you might think about:

  • How could your learners become more self-directed through individual and/or group reflection?
  • What might they gain from the reflection process?

Carmen Marty, Terri Brines, & Brooke Higgins are eMINTS Instructional Specialists and Cognitive Coaching/eMINTS Agency Trainers. For more information about Cognitive Coaching and related seminars visit the eMINTS National Center events page.

~*Dawn*~ (Photographer). (2007). Reflections on the Stream. [Web]. Retrieved from http://www.flickr.com/photos/naturesdawn/1283502759/

Thursday’s Tip: Helping Students Learn Through Reflection

River reflection day

As teachers, we value the time for reflection, but how do we teach our students the value of reflection?   Each day our classroom is filled with learning experiences.  Our students need time to reflect on their work as an individual and as a group.  This reflection will help them transfer life skills beyond the walls of the classroom.

There are many ways we can help students reflect.  One way to promote deep reflection is in the questions we ask.  Here is a list of tips to help create reflective questions:

  • Begin your questions with a positive presupposition-As you reflect, when you planned your project etc.  These stems presume that as a learner is reflective, did plan etc.
  • Use tentative language to open up thinking-How might, What are some things etc.  Tentative language makes the questions less threatening. Tentative language lets students know there is more than one correct answer.
  • Use verbs that access high cognitive process levels-As you compare this experience to a past one,  If you were the audience member, (another perspective) Asking questions from the higher levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy gives students opportunities to process, think, and create deep answer.
  • Ask question with intention to explore thinking or specify thinking

Students love to be published and often times are more motivated when using electronic tools for reflection.  Here is a short list of tools you might use to assist students with reflecting:

Carmen Marty, Terri Brines, & Brooke Higgins are eMINTS Instructional Specialists and Cognitive Coaching/eMINTS Agency Trainers. For more information about Cognitive Coaching and related seminars visit the eMINTS National Center events page.

Tanakawho (Photographer). (2007). River Reflection Day. [Web]. Retrieved from http://www.flickr.com/photos/28481088@N00/2112377904/

4ALL: Looking Back – Reflecting on the Year

“Follow effective action with quiet reflection. From the quiet reflection will come even more effective action.” – James Levin

As teachers, we know and value the reflection process.  That time when we can think about what worked and what didn’t.  It’s a time to look critically at aspects of our year and make them a learning experience for our personal and professional growth; a way to think about how we can continue and/or change practices to meet the needs of our students.  Reflection is that piece that allows us to refine our skills and identify areas that we want to improve.  A way to develop effective action.  A true goal setting opportunity.

Here is a series of questions that may help you as you look back over the past year and assess your personal growth.

  • How did your year go and what makes you feel that way?
  • How did it go compared to what you thought might happen?
  • What things did you do that influenced the outcome of your year?
  • What skills, talents, and resources did you draw on to shape your learners?
  • What are you most proud of?
  • What are you learning about yourself?
  • When might you apply your new learning in the future?
  • In what ways has this reflection supported your thinking and learning?

Carmen Marty, Terri Brines, & Brooke Higgins are eMINTS Instructional Specialists and Cognitive Coaching/eMINTS Agency Trainers. For more information about Cognitive Coaching and related seminars visit the eMINTS National Center events page.

Tucker, L. (Photographer). (2010). Reflections!. [Web]. Retrieved from http://www.flickr.com/photos/photographygal123/4948968848/