Friday, September 19, 2014

Tools for Student Reflection

It's Day 19!  I can't believe we're in the second half of September.  Time flies when you're having fun, I guess.

Today's prompt by TeachThought for the 30-Day Blog Challenge is, "Name three powerful [ways] students can reflect on their learning, then discuss closely the one you use most often."

I primarily use 3 different tools for student reflection.

"Exit Slips" allow students to show if they have mastered a skill we've been learning.  They work a few problems, I check their work and make notes, and then I return the slips to them. We discuss issues either individually, in small groups, or as a class.

I use "Quick Writes" for students to tell me in words HOW to do a process. Being able to move from numbers and symbols to words is very important in a student's understanding of mathematics. I try to refine a student's mathematical vocabulary as I look through "Quick Writes."

My favorite tool for student reflection is more of an actual reflection.  I might ask students to give me a "3-2-1" about a topic:  3 things they understand, 2 things that are unclear, and 1 question they have or something they wonder about the topic.  I've also done a "traffic light" - green for "I got this!", yellow for "I'm getting there but a bit confused," and red for "Help! I'm lost!" Students give me information on why they chose a particular color.

I learn a tremendous amount when I ask students to tell me where they are in their understanding of a topic and what specifically they are needing help with.  I can address issues individually or with a class, and I can adjust my instruction as needed.

My belief in the importance of student reflection continues to grow.  Part of the maturation process involves becoming more self-aware.  And if students are able to realize by themselves - with a little bit of prompting - where their difficulties are, they can begin to take more responsibility for their learning and take steps to improve their understanding.

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