Reflection only works if it is followed by Do It Again.

One of the questions at the back of the Reflection chapter of Innovate Inside the Box is:

What do you feel guilty about as a teacher? Reflect on that and consider how to move forward.

Well, upon ‘reflection’ I can honestly say that I feel guilty about all the times I have handed my students back graded work and told them to reflect on what they could do differently next time; followed immediately by moving on to the next unit. Every time I have done this a little voice in my head is always saying “you know they won’t actually get to apply any of the good ideas in their reflection for quite some time.”.

I loved the descriptions of using the Choose-Do-Review cycle in a UDL classroom that Katie Novak shares in the book, and how the ‘mess’ becomes OK as long as students are reflecting on it and learning from it. One of the advantages of ‘mess’ I think is that there is more freedom for students to choose-do-review and then choose again. It is very true that “making choices starts and ends with the process of reflection”.

One of my realities however is that I don’t always get to decide that students can have a do over before moving on; sometimes the reality of working in departments with other teachers means that I can’t always be on my own timeline. However, reading about exam wrappers (activities that direct students to review their performance on an assessment or project after it has been reviewed or graded by the teacher) got me thinking. Remember those letters we sometime have students write to themselves, that they give to a teacher who¬† mails them back to the student 10 years later? I wonder if students could do something similar for an exam wrapper activity?

More specifically, my new plan when my Design Technology students finish their current project, and I hand back their graded work and rubrics, is to have them record a Flipgrid letter to themselves telling their future self what they would do better next time. I will make sure they reference the rubrics and scaffold the activity for them.

Then before they hand in their next design project I will make sure they listen to themselves and commit to implementing some of the suggestions from their past selves. Could work.

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