Reflection in a Writer's Workshop
Today I played around with Reflection in a Kindergarten Writer's Workshop. I have four categories of questions I like to ask writers at the end of a workshop:
A writer's act of reflection is actually a form of authentic assessment for me. Each reflection teaches me something about writers and gives me insight into their thinking. If a child is bored and yearns for the energy of friends, I need to make sure to position him in a space surrounded by friends who might give him the jolt he needs. If a child is nervous about writing, I need to know why and what I can do to help alleviate her trepidation. If a child feels happy about herself as a writer, what is happening to make her feel this way--and might she offer suggestions to peers to help them foster this feeling within themselves?
Primarily, reflection is a self-evaluative act so the writer can step back and think inward. But it's also an assessment act that teaches me something I need to learn from my writers.
I wonder: In what ways do you reflect with your students? How can we make reflection a daily part of their Writer's Workshop?
I love that you incorporated this into the end of your workshop! My goal this year has been to do more reflection with my class. Sometimes at the end of workshops, we'll do a quick check-in if there's not as much time. They'll hold up a thumbs up or down or sideways on how they felt about their work, time spent, or something similar.
4/18/2017 05:07:16 pm
Although I wasn't able to launch the video, I appreciate your thoughts on reflection. Your four questions are wonderful, and I will officially steal them!! Like you, I believe in being a "reflective practitioner," and I support self-reflection 100%. The earlier we start the better. I can't wait to share this my teachers. We also do museum walks and ask students to provide a compliment and a suggestion. I've always asked my students to write a reflection as well, but never asked them to "think forward" on what they might do differently. Thanks for sharing!
4/18/2017 06:49:07 pm
I was always a huge "reflection" cheerleader in my classroom teaching days, and I've carried that over in my coaching work. Sometimes teachers will ask me, "Well, why do you think this is happening, or why they did this?" and my first answer is, well, let's ask them!
4/18/2017 07:16:15 pm
Wonderful reflection, Brian. I am a Kindergarten teacher and we don't often reflect on that personal a level. We discuss what was exciting or challenging for us that day after a period of writing and then two authors sharing. I'll have to give this a try and see what happens! :-)
4/18/2017 08:58:49 pm
I am a huge believer in the importance of reflection. It plays such a prominent role in helping kids form a writer's identity, and yes, I agree that reflection is also a form of assessment. I think it also helps to make learning permanent. Too often it can be skipped because of time, but there are many ways to help kids think about their work daily so that it just becomes part of the routine. Thanks for sharing this important post.
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About the Author
Brian Kissel is an Associate Professor of education at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. His focus is writing instruction. He lives in North Carolina with his wife, Hattie and three kiddos: Charlie, Ben, and Harriet.