Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Reflecting on this Year's Learning

Hi there, it's Roisin from Little Learner Toolbox, and I am very happy to be here on 'Who's Who and Who's New'! It’s that time of year when the final countdown has begun, with students starting to get into the summer mood, while teachers are in the midst of juggling the learning in their classroom with the many end of year demands. All in all the end of year can be a busy time. With everything moving towards the end of year, this can also be a great time to take time to reflect upon the year with your class.  Providing students with the opportunity to reflect upon how they have grown through the year, the challenges they may have faced, the goals they achieved and the strategies they developed through the year, is a great way to bring the year to a conclusion and celebrate with your class.

One fun way to do this is by encouraging you students to write a letter, create an information booklet or design a poster for the new incoming class. This is something that many classes already do, but taking time to really think about the year with your class is a great opportunity to encourage conversation and reflection. There are so many possibilities for this activity including: 1) write individual letters to be placed on the desks of the new students at the beginning of the new school year, 2) bind individual letters together to make a handy reference booklet for the incoming class or 3) students could create posters to decorate the classroom for the start of the school year, full of information for the incoming class. Providing students with the opportunity for writing for the incoming class, is a fun way to engage your students. Next year’s students will enjoy it too!

“We don’t learn from experience. We learn from reflecting on experience.” (John Dewey)

 While the final product will be for the incoming class, so much of the learning and conversation will happen along the way. By giving your students the opportunity to reflect upon the year, you give them the chance to consolidate their ideas, reflect upon their experiences and share their ideas with their classmates. 

To start with, introduce the idea to your whole class and ask them to remember back to what it was like at the start of the year. Ask students about how they felt and where there any big questions or concerns that they had? If so that would be good information to include for the new class. What sort of information and tips would be useful for incoming students to know; what to do, not to do, fieldtrips, handy information to know? Are there any fun projects or activities for the students to look forward to? 

Ideas to brainstorm with your class could include:
Class / Grades routines that you had during the year
Favorite projects that you did or fun facts that you learned during the year
Books that you read as a class
Favorite field trips
Helpful tips for the year
Useful strategies that you learned
What your new teacher is like

Another nice thing to do with students before they write their letter is to encourage them to think of some of their own personal achievements and highlights from the year:
One thing I really enjoyed was…..
One thing I learned was…..
One thing I am proud of is…..

Finally when your students begin to plan for writing their letters or designing their posters, encourage them to think about their achievements they have listed, and what they learned and enjoyed throughout the year. What do they think that the incoming students would like to know? What would they have liked to have known coming into the class? The final posters or letters will be a wonderful collection of student memories and achievements, and a great welcome to the new class at the start of next year!

For more end of year activities check out:  

End of Year Memory Book


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