Thursday, April 30, 2015

End of Year Reflection Activity

clip art by Image Boutique  

I have been assigning this reflection activity for five years now, and have found it to be a productive way to end the school year or quarter for the students and myself.

1. Review the major assignments from the class and their purpose. I use the four major essay assignments, the weekly in-class response papers, exercises on writing introductions and conclusions, and incorporating research. I project a list on the screen, but you could also make a handout. (At the beginning of the class, I encourage students to save all their assignments so they can review them for this assignment. This step is helpful, but not necessary.)

2. Instruct students to choose the three assignments that they learned the most from. These are not necessarily the assignments that earned the best grades.

3. Have them then write a letter that explains why they chose the assignments and what they learned from them. Also have them write about their overall progress in the class, and any constructive criticism for improving the class.

4. As a class, make a tally of the assignments the students chose, then discuss the reasons together. Also discuss the assignments they didn't choose, and why.

This activity is a great way for students to recall the amount of work they accomplished and see their progress. The best part of this assignment, though, is the feedback that I get. I replace assignments that no one chose as learning experiences, and take to heart all their comments and suggestions.

This is the one stack of papers I look forward to reading all year. Most of the time, the students are honest and give a lot of positive feedback, and I have been enlightened by some of the thoughtful suggestions for improvement, which I haven't hesitated to incorporate. Sometimes our students are our best teachers.

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