Over the past few years I’ve emphasized the use of student feedback, reflection and goal setting in my classroom. Trying to find an adequate balance for this has been a challenge. This school year I’m looking at different mediums in which students can reflect on their math progress. Reflecting on individual progress and determining where students are at in the progression can lead to powerful outcomes. This year I’m looking at different ways to encourage students to make more meaningful reflections that lead to actionable goals.
Each student has a math journal. These journals take the form of a 70 count spiral notebooks. The journals are primarily used to reflect on assessment performance. My class has eight unit assessments per grade level and there’s a reflection sheet designated for each one. I’ve written about the different sheets and journals: (1)(2)(3). Students then complete the sheet and bring their test along with their reflection to the teacher to review. At that point the teacher and students work together to develop a math goal for the next unit.
Students work together often in my class. I use a randomizer and group students so they tend to have different partners daily. After they complete a task I give the students a couple minutes to discuss with their partner the effort level and challenge of a particular assignment. I tend to use a timer and encourage students to be honest in the process. Hearing how other students feel about the effort and challenge level can help students be more aware of the struggle that is part of the process. Certainly not all, but I’ve seen some students thrive with this type of reflection.
Before students complete a project teachers give a sheet indicating the criteria for success. This looks like a checklist with statement indicating what’s needed to meet the expectation of a particular assignments. As students complete each component they reflect on whether they’ve met the criteria and place a check. Students will attach the criteria for success sheet to their assignment
Along with the criteria for success, students may submit a project to a digital platform like SeeSaw or Canvas. Other students in the class are randomly selected to give feedback on other projects. Students follow a prompt that asks whether a student has met the criteria for success or not. They then re-check the work and ask a question or provide a positive comment about the work. After the comments are submitted, the original poster reviews the comment, reflects and responds to the question or comment.
Each one of these mediums has pros and cons. I’m finding that the classroom environment plays a major role in how comfortable students are in sharing their thoughts with the class. Some students are much more willing to independently reflect and speak with the teachers than others. I find that students take more of an ownership role when they analyze their own performance in context and make steps to improve. Bypassing the “I’m good at math” or “I’m bad at math” type of thinking can be a challenge, but providing ample opportunities to reflect can move students away from generalizing and be more specific about their analysis.
The next step in my process is to take these reflection opportunities and transition it to meaningful individual goal setting.