Reflect…Reflecting…Reflection..

In the School Library Monthly  a post titled I.Need.Reflection caught my attention. You can read:

I’m acutely aware that I’m flooded with input without having the time to arrange that input into meaningful patterns.

and the word “truncate” in the following quote immediately conjured up a mental image about the lack of reflection time for our students AND our teachers.

In today’s hurried classrooms, it’s tempting to truncate the learning experience by cutting off the reflective process.

The author also points to research

Research tells us (see: Donovan & Bransford’s How People Learn or Darling-Hammond’s Powerful Learning: What We Know About Teaching for Understanding as examples) that my state is not unique; rather, reflection is undeniably essential to making new learning stick. Whether you call it metacognition, reflection, or thinking about our thinking, new learning requires that we reflect.

I believe that one of the most important skills for the future is the ability to write

  • …to write well
  • …to write in different media
  • …to write for difference audiences
  • …to write reflectively
  • …to write collaborative

So how do we teach reflective writing?

I started to look for resources online and felt I immediately hit the jackpot with Peter Pappas‘ series of posts on his blog Copy Paste about

Take a look at his Prezi below to give you a taste of his thoughts on creating a reflective school environment.

5th grade brainstorming reflective vocabulary

By using Peter Pappas’ Bloom’s Taxonomy of Reflection, we hoped to guide students in the process.

Peter Pappas's Reflection Taxonomy

Reflection Taxonomy by Peter Pappas

Working with 2nd graders on reflecting about their President Reports. Some of the questions from Peter Pappas’s Taxonomy were too hard for them to grasp the concept. We adapted some of them for the younger learners. They were tempted to answer the question directly. “Did you achieve your goal?” was answered with an obvious “Yes, I did” in the reflection. It was clear, that supporting a reflective writing culture in the class would could not be a one time project, but was a process to go through to become a reflective classroom learning community.

Here are some links to student reflection examples

Soon, it became very clear to me, that I was “saddling the horse backwards” as we say in German. By expecting to teach students reflective writing, we needed to START by making teachers aware of the IMPORTANCE of reflection and the mechanics of teaching reflective writing. We needed to take a step back to become a reflective teacher- community before we could expect our students to become a reflective-learning community and our school a reflective school culture. We are starting to work towards that by making it an official theme that is running through all our Professional Development.

My colleague Andrea Hernandez and I wanted to model that reflection come in in all shapes and sizes. We created a  video reflection of our “21st Century Teaching and Learning”year at the Martin J. Gottlieb Day School.

21st Century Learning Reflection from langwitches on Vimeo.

Do you take the time to reflect? Do you give your students time to reflect on their learning? How do you teach the mechanics of reflective writing? How has your school moved forward in becoming a reflective learning community? Please contribute ideas, links and resources you have. What worked for your school, teachers and students?