When it comes to learning, reflection is a crucial step that is sometimes overlooked. Reflection is a useful tool in our classrooms, offering students the opportunity to think deeply about their learning. Reflection is also important for teachers, too! Facilitating an end of the year reflection with our students can help us refine our curriculum and our teaching practices. This blog post explores some of the many benefits of end of the year reflection. It will also offer you some end of the year writing prompts and activities that you can use with your students.
Why is end of the year reflection important?
Reflection is a beneficial practice in learning, no matter what subject area you teach. This is because end of the year reflection promotes metacognitive learning. Simply put, metacognitive learning involves students intentionally thinking about their learning process.
There is a lot of research supporting the benefits of metacognitive learning. For one, it celebrates students’ accomplishments. It also inspires a growth mindset by demonstrating to students that they can overcome academic challenges. Finally, it provides students with the opportunity to develop a positive attitude towards learning and school.
End of the year reflection is also important from a teacher’s perspective. This is a valuable time to collect feedback from students about what they enjoyed and what they found challenging. Student feedback can help you further develop your curriculum and refine your teaching practice.
What do you reflect on for the school year?
Given the many benefits of metacognitive learning, reflecting on academic growth is worth prioritizing. You can prompt students to consider where they felt challenged in your subject area. When exploring academic challenges, it is important for students to recognize their ability in overcoming hardships. This helps to promote a growth mindset. You can prompt students to explore why they felt challenged, as well as the steps they took to meet this challenge.
If students still feel defeated by their academic hardships, you can direct them to look for solutions: learning supports, modifications, extra practice, and extra help are all options that students can be encouraged to explore.
You can also prompt students to consider their academic wins, too. What did students manage to accomplish in your subject area? Why is this accomplishment particularly important? What steps did students take to achieve this goal? These prompts help students reflect on their ability to problem-solve. They also help to foster a positive attitude towards academics.
Another great benefit of end of the year reflection is that it can help support your teaching practices. Student feedback about your course is valuable: it can help you to anticipate the needs of your future students and to adjust your curriculum accordingly. You can also pass student feedback along to colleagues that will be teaching your students next year.
End of the Year Social-Emotional Reflection Questions
Reflection beyond academics is also important. An end of the year reflection can explore many areas of a student’s life. When exploring social-emotional writing prompts, be sure to nurture student-teacher confidentiality and leave questions open-ended in order to respect students’ privacy.
At the time of writing this blog post, we are in our second year of a pandemic. Social-emotional learning is especially helpful for students processing experiences like grief or loss. This COVID-19 reflection teaches students about managing grief and anxiety. It introduces the 7 stages of grief and includes a series of timed writing prompts. These writing prompts help students integrate events from the pandemic and set realistic expectations for the coming months. For more strategies to support students during this time, check out this blog post.
End of the Year Memory Books for Students
An End of the Year Memory Book is a great way to include a combination of academic reflection questions and social-emotional writing prompts. This memory book includes 11 end of the year writing prompts to facilitate mindful reflection. Students will have the opportunity to congratulate themselves for their hard work while they practice letting go of any difficult moments they may have encountered. They will also share photos and showcase important mementos from the school year.
This end of the year memory book resource includes 6 memory book templates in order to implement student choice. These templates provide a variety of themes to appeal to different student preferences. Each template is offered in both digital and ready-to-print formats, and there is even a black-and-white template for printing in grayscale.
To integrate your English Language Arts curriculum, an end of the year writing prompt about literary texts is also included. Students will also practice using different verb tenses while they complete their end of the year reflection.
This memory book also includes assignment instructions to guide students through each of the end of year writing prompts. Students can reference the assignment instructions and 4-level rubric while they complete this end of the year reflection. An editable rubric has also been provided to meet the needs of your classroom.
Taking Time to Reflect
End of the year reflection is a meaningful aspect of learning. When students are prompted to consider their academic challenges and personal growth, they are better equipped to take control of their learning. They will also have the opportunity to manage expectations for the coming year. End of the year reflection is beneficial for teachers too because we can learn a lot from our students’ feedback. Needless to say, reflection should be an integral part of our end of the year activities in the classroom.