A Weekly Reflection Tool for Student-led Learning

This term, I have been trying to give my students more voice in our classroom learning environment with regards to the way we go about things and the tools we use to demonstrate our learning. I think this has stemmed from the Personalised Learning approach we have taken as a whole school this year, and my efforts to embed the purposeful engagement of the approach in every facet of my practice.

In a recent post I discussed the Morning Meeting that we share every day and the positive impact it has on our daily program. In this post I'd like to share a ten-minute, Friday afternoon tool that is promoting reflective thinking, goal setting and student voice with positive results in our classroom.

I look at the last hour of the week as a valuable time for reflection, sharing and wellbeing, rather than an excuse to stop learning and run to the games cupboard. I find it interesting that in Australia we spend so much time focusing on getting our students to school, on time, then only to not value every minute of the day that they are in the classroom.

A Reflection, a Goal and a Wish

During the last hour on a Friday, students relax and choose their working space in the classroom. They then discuss and choose two relevant sentence starters that they finish in their learning diaries.

Their learning diaries are accessible in the classroom whenever they need them to set goals or reflect.

Once they have finished their reflection and goal setting (and received instant feedback via a quick conference) they take a post-it note and write a 'wish' for the following week – this might include an area that they wish to learn more about, an iPad app they would like to use or a Writer's Workshop they think would benefit their project.

Not only does this feedback help me with purposeful, targeted planning for the next week, (usually an hour on Sunday afternoon gives me time to organise my thoughts!), but the students know that their opinions count and they can see this in the following week's learning.

I hope this reflective tool encourages some valuable learning time and reflection in your Friday afternoon classrooms and has a positive effect in your daily program!





What reflective tools do you use in your classroom?

What other strategies do you have to promote student voice?

How do you give students some ownership of what they are producing in the classroom?

I'd love to hear your suggestions, thoughts, comments and reflections in the space below.



3 Comments on “A Weekly Reflection Tool for Student-led Learning”

  1. Sarah says:

    You have inspired me to integrate this important reflection time in my classroom. Thanks 🙂 What other ways do you incorporate goal setting and reflection into your classrooom? I would love to read more about this and see pictures. Thanks in advance. Sarah

    • Teddy Mercer says:

      Hi Sarah,

      I am so happy to hear that you have had success with these techniques in your classroom! I’d love to be able to share photos of what you are doing – how about a guest post?

      Reflection tools I have used in the past have come from this document, ‘Ten Minutes Tops’ which you are welcome to access via the link to my Dropbox below:

      Click to access TEN%20MINUTES%20TOPS.pdf

      I hope you find them as useful as I have! Let me know what you think.



  2. Sarah says:

    Hi Teddy, thanks for the great reflection tool ‘ten minutes tops’.

    Goal Settting:

    Goal setting in my classroom is based on Kath Murdoch’s learning assets idea, which is p-3 and 4-6 based. The learning assets are from 5 categories: self-managers, e-learners, collaborators, thinkers, and researchers. Under each heading are approximately 12 key areas to work towards. At the beginning of each term every child chooses a goal from each category to work towards. As students achieve their goals they can cross it off and choose another.

    Reflection time:

    We currently have reflection time after each maths workshop and maths independent session, where the students write a paragraph about the activity focus, challenges that arose when completing a task, achievements/successes and any other areas/concerns they would like to write about.

    I also use the many available reflection tools from a wonderful website called http://margdteachingposters.weebly.com/personal-learning.html The website is amazing and Marg the teacher that runs it is always happy to answer any questions.

    Student voice/ ownership:

    Students once a term, generally at the end or middle of an inquiry unit, have time for a personal inquiry, regarding the unit/big idea we are concentrating on. Students outline the steps they need to complete to get the task done, write guiding research questions and are able to present their work in any mode they choose. Students are then assessed by peers, a teacher and complete a self-assessment rubric.

    I hope this has explained how we/I reflect, allow for student ownership and set goals in my classroom.

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