Sunday, January 25, 2015

Student Reflections & Resolutions

One of my goals for this year is to help students develop skills that will help them in all aspects of life.  Since the end of the first semester is right around the corner, I had them reflect on how things were going so far.

I gave them each a sheet of paper (half-sheet to cut down on waste), and asked them these 5 questions:
  1. On a scale of 1-5, how hard have you been working this year?  I had them circle a number 1 through 5.  I set them up to answer the question like this - 5=I've done all of my homework, and I regularly come in for extra help; 1=I rarely do my homework, and I never come in for extra help.  These are the things that I look at most to determine if students are trying.
  2. Do you think your current grade accurately reflects your effort?  I had them circle yes or no.  Prior to giving them the self-evaluation I passed out a small piece of paper with their grades written on them.  I showed them their overall average, homework average, quiz average, and test average.
  3. Do you think you're on track to reach your Regents goal?  We set goals in October for the Regents exam, NWEA, and a personal growth goal.  Maybe I should post about that another time.
  4. What habits have been helping you?
  5. What habits have been hurting you?
I was very impressed with the honesty and maturity that my students responded with.  On question #1, no student gave themselves a 1, which I agree with.  I had two students give themselves a 5, which I also agree with.  (For some reason, my students this year are very reluctant to come in for extra help.  I'm not sure why.  Maybe I should ask in a survey.)

On question 2, I realized that I need more options.  Students need the room to be able to say "no my grade doesn't reflect my effort because I work hard and it's not paying off".  Or they could feel the opposite way.  I'll have to restructure this for next time.

On question 3, I was happy that the majority of my students said that they're not on track to reach their Regents goal because most of them are not.  There are study and test taking skills that need to be developed first.

Questions 4 and 5 were enlightening.  Students appreciate their interactive notebooks, they understand the impact of completing homework for the good and bad, they understand the detrimental effects of procrastination, and many realize that need to start seeking help.

I had my students do this reflection on Friday.  Tomorrow I'm going to have them take this a step further and complete a Keep-Change-Start-Stop form.  (For more information, read Sarah Hagan's post here.)  I did this with my students last year, but not until the end of the year.  (We had one for personal reflection, and one to reflect on my teaching.)  By doing this tomorrow, I want to essentially set new semester resolutions.  I want my students to take their reflection, and turn it into an action.  I'm going to have students complete their Keep-Change-Start-Stop, collect it to read and provide feedback, and then give it back to students to keep in their notebooks.

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