This Week’s Leadership Column is Courtesy of Cathleen Russell…….

All throughout the school year we are encouraged to constantly reflect on our teaching, but how often do we ask our students to reflect on our instruction? The end of the year is a great time to gather information from our students as we have them reflect on their experiences in your classroom. This feedback can be incredibly valuable as we wrap up our school year and start thinking ahead. We often miss this opportunity at the end of the year because we are so focused on the “mad dash to end” and how incredibly busy and emotional it can be teaching high school this time of year.

We only have 10 more A days left with our seniors! They’re feeling especially nostalgic this time of year so take advantage of it! A reflection activity with your classes can also be an engaging lesson during a time of year when it is hard to focus the class and keep them on task.

Some ideas…

  • Have the students write you a letter addressing some key points and questions you have selected for them
  • Have the students respond to a quote and apply it to their experiences in your classroom
  • Do a series of journal entries or quickwrites where the students respond to a series of specific reflection questions
  • Structure a class discussion activity around reflection questions using concentric circles or pair-share

Don’t be afraid to dig deep and ask the big questions!

  • When I started this class in August I was anxious about …
  • What surprised me most about this class was …
  • In this class I struggled with …
  • I was really good at …
  • A low point/high point for me in this class was …
  • My favorite class activity or assignment was …
  • If I could tell you one thing that I think would improve this class for other students in the future it would be …
  • I think this class could do without the …
  • If I took this class over again something I would do differently would be …
  • Something I wish I told you but I never did was …

]              You can structure the reflection assignments as anonymous submissions or open sharing activities, it’s up to you! A google search can provide you with a wide array of reflection questions you can use depending on which direction you want to take. I am often surprised by what the students tell me and how they view things. It’s always good to step back and see our instruction and classroom through the student lens.

Hang in there OM! 8 more Mondays left!

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