Reflection in the context of learning is a generic term for those intellectual and affective activities in which individuals engage to explore their experiences in order to lead to new understandings and appreciation. It may take place in isolation or in association with others. David Boud, Rosemary Keogh, and David Walker
Once again it is the time of the year that teachers are counting days, lamenting and celebrating the end of the school year while excitedly planning for next year. End-of-the-year reflective activities wrap up the current school year and provide students an opportunity to reflect on their classroom experiences. Student reflections solidify what students thought was important about their classes, whether that be what they learned, how they felt, or what they might do differently in the future. These student responses also give teachers valuable information about their teaching and what they should keep doing and what they might consider not doing. The activities listed below are just a sampling of reflective activities that have worked for us. Please share your end-of-the-year reflective activities that have worked for you and your students.
A Few Reflective Activities for the End-of-the-School Year
Write an essay about what you learned this year or semester in this class? Not just the facts, but what did you learn that you can apply to your own life or that was important to you. No limit or page requirement, just an essay.
Create a collage or Wordle that reflects what you learned this year or semester in this class? Not just the facts, but what did you learn that you can apply to your own life or that was important to you.
List 3 things you learned this year.
List 2 things you will do over the summer to become even a better student and learner.
List 1 thing you will try that you have never done before.
Contact: Choose one activity you enjoy doing and practice it. Become a pro!
Corner Question #1: What was the most fun you had in this class?
Corner Question #2: What was the most important thing you learned in this class?
Corner Question #3: What would you tell someone who will be in this class next year about this class?
Corner Question #4: What was your favorite activity in this class?
Use Post-Its or invite students to write comments on poster paper. Invite students to visit each corner and write a response to the prompt. After students have visited all corners, share responses.
Letters to Those Who Will Follow
Direct students to write letters to the students who will be in their class next semester or school year. Provide a variety of stationary, including colored paper and different size envelopes. Good opportunity to remind students how to address an envelope. Great way to start the new school year or semester.
Copy these questions on a half-sheet, add a spring graphic, and invite students to respond to each of these prompts:
- One thing that really blooms in this class is…
- One thing I might weed out in this class is…
- One thing that would make my learning blossom is…
Kindness is Catching
If you keep scraps of colored paper, this is a great use for them. Give students oddly shaped pieces of colored paper and ask them to write down a kindness someone showed them during the past year and how that kindness positively impacted them. Create a bulletin board by displaying all the kindnesses.
Spring Snowball Fight
Give each student a piece of white paper. Ask students to list the three most important things they learned this year/semester in this class. Direct students to crumple the paper and on your signal, throw that “snowball” into the air. Next, direct students to pick up a snowball, unwrinkled it, and read it to the class. You might want to shovel up these snowballs for further reflection.
Something else to consider is to give students a project for the summer like our Summer Reading and Writing Journal which includes teacher guidelines, parent letter, resources for reading lists, bookmarks, 38-page student reading and writing journal and much more. Ideal to give intermediate students and their families to sustain and promote reading and writing skills over the summer.
Summer Reading and Writing Journal
Connection between Learning and Reflection
Making Practice-Based Learning Work