Saturday, June 23, 2012

End of Year Reflection - Top 5 Takeaways from Students

At the end of each year, I pause to reflect on my big take-aways as a teacher and learner as well as have my students reflect on their year.  In past years, I sometimes used thinking stems to prompt their reflections or asked them specific questions to reflect upon.  This year, I asked my students to write down their "Top Five Take-aways" from the year.  When I attend conferences and workshops, I tend to walk away thinking about my "Big Take-aways" so I decided to have my students try out using the same reflection strategy. Throughout the year, I continuously ask my students to reflect on their learning so they were not surprised when I asked them to participate in an end-of-year reflection.  Reflection is a critical and necessary component of the learning process and I firmly believe that without reflection, we would not have learning.

Some highlights from their "Top Five Take-aways" were:
  • Creativity and Problem Solving - "This year, I have learned how to solve problems in new and creative ways.  I have realized that there is always an answer, and I need to push myself to find the best solution."
  • Teamwork - "This year, I have learned to works as a team and I realize that teamwork involves taking turns and collaborating."
  • Having a Growth Mindset instead of a Fixed Mindset - "I've learned to always have a growth mindset and go the extra distance to reach my goals." "I learned to be more confident and always be up for a challenge."
  • Perseverance - "I learned to never give up and try my hardest."
  • Conversation Skills - "I learned how to have a successful book club conversation and how to get my ideas across."
  • Charts - "Before this year, I can't remember using or creating charts a lot.  I have learned how to make charts work for me.  Now they help me as a reader and writer."
  • New Book Titles and Recommendations: "Here, in this classroom, I have had the chance to read so many books! I love to read and it was great to have so many choices!"
About half of the students in my class wrote about the Growth Mindset concept and how understanding the concept is helping them.  I loved seeing this because it shows that they truly internalized the concept that I taught them earlier in the year about Mindset.  As educators, it is so important for us to strive to have a Growth Mindset and to understand the difference between mindsets, but I believe it is equally important for students to be aware of and understand the concept.  

I was also excited to see that the students internalized and are taking away essential skills they will use as lifelong learners from this year in 5th grade. :)

I'd love to hear about other ways you had your students reflect on their year of learning in your classroom.

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