Children at Rosendale spend quite a bit of time (still not enough in 5TM!) reflecting on their learning. Sometimes the reflections are on paper, sometimes on Evernote (a sort of electronic camera, notepad and filing system combined). There’s research evidence that “thinking about learning” (‘metacognition’) can have a big impact on achievement, which is why the school invests so much time and effort in this area.
The children should aim to complete at least three reflections a week. I usually make it one of their targets in independent learning. They might want to write a reflection at any point in the week (when they’ve just understood something for the first time, or got over a hurdle, or produced a piece of work they really like, or solved a tricky maths problem). I encourage them to write a reflection after they have their weekly 1:1 meeting with me – I want these meetings to be weekly but am not always managing to keep this up. And sometimes we stop as a class to reflect, all together, at the end of a unit of work.
I don’t want the reflections to be formulaic. But the general aim should be for the children to reflect on what they’ve learned and how they learned it (or, alternatively, and equally usefully, what stopped them learning). Here’s an example of what I think is a good reflection – on the week’s literacy lessons on debating.The tags at the top (which would be typed in an Evernote reflection) are intended to help the students or teacher search for past reflections on a particular topic. As well as cataloguing the work (e.g. literacy, debating), children assess how they think they’ve got on (red/stuck, amber/OK but areas to work on, green /going well and blue/confident enough to coach) and they pick an emotion that describes how they feel about this area of learning.