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How I Incorporate Reflection Into Semester Summative Assessments

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'Sara Black's When I look in the mirror' photo (c) 2009, Christa Uymatiao - license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/

I’ve previously posted a number of the semester final summative activities I’ll be having my students be doing during these final two-and-a-half weeks of school (you can see several of the different writing prompts that will be part of them if you scroll to the bottom of My Best Posts On Writing Instruction).

In addition to those writing assignments, I always incorporate a number of reflective activities, and I thought readers might find it useful if I shared them here. I’m also always interested in hearing ideas on how I can improve them, so don’t be shy about leaving a comment.

This post will be focusing specifically on what I’m doing in my mainstream ninth-grade English classes.

At our school, students write essays at the beginning and ending of the year, which teachers then evaluate using what’s called an “improvement rubric.” You can read all about that process at a guest post written by my colleague Lara Hoekstra.

After students review those assessments, and other essays they’ve written over the year, they pick two — one from the fall and one from the spring — to evaluate and reflect on. I’ve previously written about that process — and included downloadable hand-outs — at My Revised Final Exams (And An Important Lesson). Only after completing that reflective process do they write to the prompt that is their “final.”

Those essays are included in a folder that is moved to their next year’s English teacher, and goes “up the line” each year so that students, and their teachers, can see the progress that they are making.

In addition to those essays, I’m having my students write a reflective letter to their next year’s English teacher. You can download it here. This letter will be included in that folder.

Students also complete a reflective self-grading form, which I’ve described in my Education Week Teacher column.

In addition, students do a project where they reflect more specifically on the content that we have studied during the year. You can download those instructions here.

If students are done early, I have them do a “Semester As A List” activity as “extra credit,” which I adapted from a great piece by Robert Krulwich on NPR.

And, of course, students complete an anonymous class evaluation, too.

How do you incorporate reflection into your end-of-year activities?

I’m adding this post to The Best Resources On Student & Teacher Reflection and to A Collection Of “The Best” Lists On Assessment.

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Author: Larry Ferlazzo

I'm a high school teacher in Sacramento, CA.

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