During this season of being thankful, we reflect on how fortunate we all are to be a part of the Woodland community. We have an amazing group of parents who volunteer as chaperones, readers, quilters, musicians, cooks, board members, leaders of special offerings and classes, and donators of a variety of resources. Perhaps more importantly, this same group of parents supports the mission of Woodland and sends their children to school every day with love and support for the program...and full lunch boxes! Our board continues to push us to be better every day by bringing new ideas and a level of commitment to Woodland that keeps us progressive in education. And yes, we also love the treats that show up in our mailboxes on occasion! But, have you ever wondered how the students reflect at Woodland? Reflection is about students becoming aware of their own thinking processes, and being able to make those transparent to others. It enables assessment of the "why" and "how" of the learning, and what needs to be done as a result. Reflection readily follows from self or peer assessment. And this is what it looks like at Woodland:
Howard Gardner's Multiple Intelligences are integral to our portfolio and reflection processes. As students engage with activities, projects, offerings, games and intensives, they are recorded on each students multiple intelligences chart. Charts may be taken out daily, weekly, or as a Journey ends and the portfolio process is begun with items added to the intelligence that best fits the activity and/or project. The chart includes activites from all parts of the day from Morning Circle to Read Aloud, and everything in between.
Planning and Reflection sheets may be used for any project or activity during Free Choice or Journey. They support both the planning and the reflection process and are used for each project or activity a student engages in. Students are expected to complete planning/reflection sheets for at least sustained projects, intensives, activities and offerings.
The portfolio process begins at the end of each Journey and includes reflection on all parts of the day for the full length the Journey sustained. The portfolio process takes place generally 4-8 times per year. This process includes a whole school brainstorm on as many projects, activities, books, intensives, offerings, games and other happenings that can be remembered, and then moves to an individual process where students reflect on what their selections demonstrate:
a new skill, a struggle, a success or an improvement.
A frequent and simple tool that teachers use for reflection is a check-in or informal discussion around the snack or lunch table, while at recess tossing a ball back and forth, or during a van ride. Discussion may be facilitated or promtped by a teacher or initiated by students following the project, activity or presentation being discussed.
Self and Peer Reflection
The aim of self and peer reflection is to increase student responsibility and autonomy. It helps students strive for a more advanced and deeper understanding of the subject matter, skills and processes and lifts the role and status of the student from passive learner to active leaner and assessor. Furthermore, it helps develop in students a better understanding of their own subjectivity and judgement. Peer assessment encourages student involvement and responsibility. Self reflection during Read Aloud allows for students to share their Rose (best part of their day,) Rosebud (what they are most looking forward to in the future,) and Thorn (ick! I didn't really like this today!)
Thank You Letters
Thank you letters to guest presenters, teachers, supporters, etc. allow the opportunity for reflection. When students write weekly thank you letters during Other Business they are asked to express gratitude, explain why or how the activity impacted them, and to share something they learned.