A 2015 Reflection Story
Amazing Words of Reflection from Sarah Schubring (MVCA MS Social Studies)
When the 2015-2016 School Year began I was determined to build a classroom where my students would work to become independent thinkers and learners who would be ready for any challenge presented to them either in high school, college or their work thereafter. From the first day my chat box was filled with questions like “Did I get that right?” and I realized that this group of students was further from independence than I had anticipated.
I started to implement classroom routines that would push them away from this idea of perfection and more towards the idea that learning is a chain of mistakes and successes that we all experience. So what did I do? First I stopped asking content rich questions at the beginning of class and focused on thinking questions that asked them to make a prediction or make a personal connection. Then I transitioned them into working in groups to solve problems and create solutions where everyone could express an opinion as long as they could tell us why they thought that way.
I moved my warm up questions into the BBC quiz function so that students could get that feedback but could take risks because it wasn’t graded. I found that our discussions became more focused on honest communication about learning. One of my more advanced students told me after taking an exit ticket, “I didn’t pass. I only answered 2 right.” My response was “that’s called learning and there’s nothing wrong with that.” He passed it the second try but what mattered most to me was that he was able to put that in the chat box and not a single student said something bad about him. Many of them tried to comfort him and encourage him to try again. That’s the kind of learning that I wanted but I wasn’t sure we would get to. I’ve learned so much through reflection each week, and I’m seeing the changes every day with my students. It’s not a perfect system but that’s called learning!