First, here are some of the reflective activities we have done:
- When my freshmen received their short story texts back, we focused specifically on the test essay. I made sure to write a comment on each essay as I was grading that told them something they did well. They reviewed my comments then went to their blogs and wrote about what they feel they do well on test essays. Their homework was then to read their classmates' blogs to learn more about good test essay writing. They sent me an email telling me what they learned from their classmates.
- My freshmen have also begun a document called "My Writing." In here, they record their strengths and areas for improvement. We will use this chart all year to keep doing what we do well and to keep improving. For their end-of-year portfolio, this chart will be a great way for them to track their writing trends for the year.
- My seniors completed a Google survey where they told me what they enjoyed most about our first thematic unit and what they learned the most from. Great feedback for me and for them.
- My seniors began the second quarter by pulling out two of their essays from first quarter. They reread my comments then set two goals for their writing for this quarter. They are in the midst of writing an essay right now, so these goals will have both an immediate application and a future one.
This renews my goal of reflection in my class. If I can help students become more reflective thinkers, I have helped them gain a skill that goes far beyond my classroom. The power to reflect is the power to change your own life.