The weeks feel like they are flying by as we round the corner to the end of school! I thought this week was a relatively quiet one for Room 6, yet as I look back at the pictures, there was still quite a bit going on. I want to thank everyone for the cards, flowers and treats this past week. It was wonderful and made me feel very appreciated and special!
The chicks are doing well. We have 6 in all and they seem healthy and happy. They are staying together during the evenings and on weekends, but during the school day we are splitting them between Room 8 and our own. And, though they are only 5 days old, they are already getting their first wing and tail feathers! On Friday, all the students got to touch and feel the chick's down. It was a great opportunity to develop an adjective list! We will continue to observe them grow and mature until they are ready to go home to their new farm home. You are welcome to stop by and see them!
May 4th was Star Wars Day and although we didn't formally celebrate the day, we were lucky to view a life-size R2D2 that Suzy's husband constructed. The students were amazed at how fast and agile it was, and wondered if it was the "real robot" like the one in the movie and books. I didn't really answer that question but left that up to them to think about ;-)
On Tuesday, Sally and Michelle planted some beautiful flowers in the garden and did some weeding. We will continue to tend the garden but we will be starting a new unit on the Solar System beginning Tuesday. This will be our last science unit of the year. If you have any books or resources you would like to share, please let me know!
Our preparation for the first ever, TK Student-Led Conferences, are going well. We have completed our self assessments, selected the work we want to share. Next week we will begin the rehearsal process for the conference. Most of the students are not fluid readers and will need support/guidance from you to articulate their thoughts. My "Food For Thought" article this week is about reflection and how important it is to the learning process. At the end of the article there is a link to some questions you can ask during the conference itself. I will print out the questions for you but I thought you would like to look at them ahead of time. On conference day, your son or daughter should accompany you to the conference. I will NOT be sitting with you as they should be leading the conference (with your gentle support). I will be in the room if you need me, but I would like them to be in charge of the meeting. This will be a new experience for them, but I feel that they are ready! If you haven't signed up for a time, it is not too late. Here is the link:
May 13 is our Auction evening. The students created a beautiful birch tree collage as our auction item. It should be coming back in the next few days for viewing. The proceeds of the auction will go towards supporting the field trips and enrichments for next year. Hope to see you there!
Food For Thought: The Art of Reflection
Posted on Edutopia.org 1/02/2017
We might all agree that reflection is a powerful tool but how can we help students to reflect in the classroom? Of course, reflection should be a component that builds onto knowledge they have acquired throughout the lesson. So why is reflection so important?
Benefits of Reflection:
• Significance: It allows students to see the importance of their own learning process.
• Process Recognition: Students can identify what they did well, what they failed at, what they need to change.
• Solutions/Strategies: Provides students opportunities to come up with solutions and strategies to improve on their learning.
• Motivation: Reflection provides students with motivation to learn and enjoy the process of learning. This motivation comes from them reflecting on their thoughts, feelings and emotions.
• Analysis: The most important benefit of reflection in the classroom is for students to be able to know *why* they needed to learn these concepts, theories, and ideas.
• LEARNING WON'T BE CONTENT DRIVEN: It's important for students to know "how" to learn and how to continue to be learners. Memorizing content will not help students become critical thinkers. Critical thinking stems from pausing, reflecting, and knowing "how" and "why" learning should be happening at that moment.
Levels of scaffolding to help students Reflect:
When we practice reflection in my classroom I try a process of scaffolding to help students understand the learning process. This provides an opportunity for iteration for myself as well as the students. The scaffolding of student’s reflection allows students to see the learning process holistically.
Level One: The student before learning
The student comes with his/her prior knowledge, preference, assumptions, bias, feelings about a topic/subject. At this level, we should work closely with students to understand these complex feelings. As teachers, this knowledge for us would help us understand the pathway the student uses throughout their learning process. In other words, we will empathize more with them knowing these feelings, thoughts and ideas. For students, it will allow them to speak/write openly about their feelings, thoughts and ideas. This provides a basis for their reflection of their learning.
Level Two: The student while learning
The questions here provide an opportunity to scaffold reflections about the teacher's pedagogical style to teach that lesson. Students will provide their thoughts and ideas on "how" they're learning, which informs "how" we're teaching. Here is where the teacher becomes once again the learner and tries to navigate, change, iterate teaching techniques and strategies to best help the students.
For the student, this level of reflection allows them to become familiar with how they learn, what they're comfortable with, and what they would change in the process of their learning.
Level three: The student after learning
Here is where this level of reflection can guide the student to "analyze" what they learned and "why" it was important to learn. Reflecting on the significance of what they learned is vital in helping students see the relevance in our lessons.
Level four: The student going forward
For this level of reflection, students will synthesize their learning. They will be able to take what they learned and apply it elsewhere. Here is where they take the prior reflection on the relevance of the lesson and try to make sense of it to be applied in different scenarios. While most of these levels help students to think critically, level four students will be applying strong critical thinking skills to their reflections as they will be reflecting on their learning process.
What to do with these reflections?
• Use them to provide feedback for students
• Use them for peer feedback
• Use them to understand and inform teaching strategies and pedagogy in the classroom (student evaluating teacher)
• Class discussions
• Online discussions, community posts, chats as a class
Here is a sample of questions based on the 4 levels mentioned above: