LikeToWrite.com

A resource for people passionate about helping students write well, compiled by Karen Haag

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Breakthroughs

Responding well to students' observations can end the day with breakthrough moments.

Category & student responses

Steps to improve reflection

Got It:

"If you don't stop in the middle of the book you miss out on a lot of details. I learned that authors give you lots of details and clues."

Put these types on the overhead with student permission. Show others why this is specific and how it will help later when the student comes back to make a list of things he/she has learned during the unit. This is a good reflection to start class with simply as a review. “I’d like to start class today with Marcus’ reflection. It is a great review of what we learned yesterday.” This will affirm the child and model “good” reflection.

Almost there:

"Reading means to do connections about your life and to the book. I learned to take stuff out of the book that I don't know."

Use as an example of reflection that’s getting there. Ask your small group or your class to add to it so that it is specific and/or revise it so the message is clear.

Generalizations:

"Reading is a good way to educate your body."

"I learned when you read more you can pass your grade."

“Mrs. Haag is a great reading teacher.”

While these are good things to learn, teachers want to model that the reflection should be about the specific lesson. These reflections could be used for any lesson. Put the statements on the overhead and revise them to make them more specific (anonymously, with student permission).

Not articulated clearly: 

"I learned to think about what the books actually mean or what it really means. We read it to see if we are right on our predictions."

I’d ask the child to explain to the class once again. I’d just want to be sure he understands.

Also, give students time to talk through what they write before they write. Ask a couple students to share before asking the students to write. Help the models clear up any confusion so the samples are clearly articulated. Show students that ideas must be clear to the listener and therefore the reader.

Add definition:

"I learned you should always overview your novel."

Put this reflection on the overhead. Ask the child to remember the purpose of reflection: to be able to look back and review, remember, and reuse. What’s great is that he used the word “overview.” What he needs is to add a definition so he will remember what overview means when he comes back to this page to write his reflective letter.

When students are asked to reflect, their answers fall in predictable patterns of responses. To help the students "recognize this thinking" and to grow their ability to express their ideas, then simply asking students to write what they learned is not enough. Teachers have to model how to write reflectively.

How to build on what students say

REFLECTION

Copyright 2016 by Karen Haag

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