18 March 2009

Time to Reflect

I am, by nature, a reflective person. The gift can be both a blessing and a curse, it depends upon the day. Lately, I haven't been creating time to be reflective, and I feel like it shows. There has been a lot to accomplish, both at home and at school, but I don't feel like anything has been getting my best mental effort.

My students and I haven't been finding much time to reflect in the classroom either. Thankfully we have an uninterrupted ELA block in the morning for reading and writing workshops that allows for regular times of sharing and discussion. However, our content time for math, science, and social studies is often bracketed by lunch, recesses, and Specials. There often isn't enough time during these subjects to allow for a mini-lesson, student work time, and reflection, or "debrief," as Samantha Bennett calls it.

In That Workshop Book, Bennett writes:
If each day, a teacher focuses on students making meaning of important content--meaning that is inspired by the content of the minilesson, listened to during the worktime, and then labeled and celebrated in the debrief--then student thinking sits at the heart of each minute of school day.
She goes on to further explain the debrief,
During the debrief teaching can look like sharing student thinking and work, synthesizing student thinking, labeling patterns from the worktime, making connections from the minilesson, setting the stage for the next day, holding student thinking on an anchor chart to propel the next day of thinking, summarizing on purpose, asking students to self-assess, sharing student questions raised during worktime... the possibilities are endless if you believe that student thinking matters most.
I believe that "student thinking matters most," now I just need to make the time for it.

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