Monday, June 20, 2016

Spice Up the New School Year With 7 Reflection Questions

“Learning without reflection is a waste, reflection without learning is dangerous.” -Confucius

I just arrived home from a fabulous family reunion week at the beach. Relatives from 4 months old to 8o-somethings gathered from all around the U.S. to reconnect and play together.
On our last night together, it was time to sift through the remaining food. Some items served well the first time and were ready to be trashed. Unopened, non-perishables went into a box to deliver to the Island food bank. The remaining odd items became the ingredients for the final feast. A pan of baked ziti was tastier than the first time around. A random assortment of veggies became a unique salad blend. Chicken, shrimp, garlic, tomatoes, artichokes, rice, and spices cooked together to make a delicious dish enjoyed by all.
This kitchen experience got me thinking about reflection and planning. Before preparing for next year, I need to take a careful look at all of the ingredients that went into this past year. It’s very tempting to jump straight into to planning and organizing for the new school year. I make my students reflect on their learning, so I am asking myself questions like these?
1. Which procedures and materials have exceeded their “sell by” dates? Is it time to abandon what is not working?
2. What is no longer needed or useful? Can these items be repurposed or passed along to someone who can use them?
3. Which lessons can be refined, spiced up, and improved to increase learning? How can OK be changed to great?
4. Is it time to create or collect some new “recipes” for learning? Explain.
5. Overall, what went well? Why?
6. Do I have an area of concern from this past year? Explain 
7. What did I learn from the experiences this year that will help me make improvements next year?

This summer, take the time to relax, reflect and renew. It will soon be time to cook up some fabulous plans for the new school year!