An Important Moment of Reflection

I’m sure many of you may have already had this “aha” moment of authentic learning…but it really rang true for me yesterday. Even though I recognize and value the importance of being given the time to finish something or prioritize something that I want to do/write, I’m not sure that I really give my kids that same “time” opportunity. Unfortunately, with all the content we need to get through, it is easy and sometimes necessary to say to students that we are out of time and that they can continue the next day. But if in the following day, the students don’t end up getting time to finish, what happens to that post? Are the students as motivated to finish something that happened 2-3 days ago? I have seen kids delete drafts and when I ask them why, they say it isn’t important anymore or that they have simply lost interest and don’t want to finish. If I was to label this learning, I would have to say that the moment had passed.

In my own practices, I noticed yesterday that I had three different “drafts” for posts that I had begun “in the moment of learning”. I kept thinking I would have the time to finish them up or add more to them…and then a few days/weeks later when I opened them, I realized that I didn’t want to finish these posts anymore. Even though there was great learning, that moment of learning had passed.  Instead, I focused on our new learning about Earth Day.  It was at that moment that I realized if I didn’t post it on the same day, I would lose the opportunity for conversation with the students and that comments from the world and learning from each other would potentially be lost.  And if there isn’t a conversation…then what’s the point?

I’m also noticing this “in the moment” engagement with my classroom blog.   When I ask kids if they read our classroom blog, most say no.  If it isn’t within the first day of posting or there isn’t a follow up that brings us back to the classroom blog, they don’t really want to read the blog or if they do, it is simply read and then they move on and there isn’t any reflection.

Is anyone else finding this?  How do we balance all that needs to be done in a day yet give the students that time for reflecting on their learning?  I guess the important lesson for me is that I should do less and do it well and I think this is also true for the kids.

Something to think about…

Jenn

3 thoughts on “An Important Moment of Reflection

  1. I totally agree! I am constantly struggling with giving my students the time they need (and want) with each new concept or learning opportunity and the amount of content I need to cover. I feel this pull even more teaching grade 6 since it is a testing year. I think doing less but doing it well would be better for my students (and for me too).

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  2. I also agree. There are weeks I feel like we have too many things going on because we’ve ventured off somewhere else to answer a different question which has led us down a new path of learning. Learning how to manage a classroom of “inquiring minds” has proven to be a difficult challenge. Finding the balance is already a goal I have set for myself next year.

    Leigh

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  3. Currently I am dealing with a similar issue with my Grade 1s. I am trying to get them to bump up their writing with more details and using multiple days to complete a really good piece of writing. They have become really effective at creating simple “I like … because …” but now need to expand on this.

    One way I do this is by putting up student blogs on the Smartboard that have added extra details and thinking. Then as a class we reflect and tell the blogger “something good”. I use it as a teaching moment and discuss how they could bump it up more. I find this short 5 minute reflection on their blog posts has encouraged more detailed writing and better editing.

    I also create must-do writing which I will use for assessments. With this they must do graphic organizers and edit with me before they can start creating and publishing using the iPads. During these tasks I force them to follow the writing process more strictly.

    I still understand your situation! Our iPads are full of unfinished Pic Collages and Explain Everything Videos. We are going to have to start cleaning them out because we are running out of memory space!

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