Ritualize Reflection and Revision

Recently, our superintendent mentioned the book Street Data by Shane Safir and Jamila Dugan. Then at a meeting with people who evaluate assistant principals and principals, the book was mentioned again. Each mention came with glowing reviews. So, I got the book. Put me in the glowing review camp. This blogpost will center on the ritualization of reflection and revision. Given that I’ve highlighted passages on just about every page, this is just where I’m going to start with my personal reflection and learning.

Excellent book.

As I’m assuming with everyone who reads things and thinks about things, I apply my experience. I apply my experience as a teacher, principal, and now assistant superintendent. And oddly enough, as my career rolls along, now in its 39th year, I’m astonished how much I don’t know and need to learn. This book helps me on that learning journey.

Here are just three ideas about the ritualization of reflection and revision. My teacher experience flat tells me how simple and powerful these ideas are, and on the off chance that anybody reads this blog, or reads this book, please consider these three ideas.

The premise. “Centering student voice doesn’t mean we stop giving feedback, but it does mean we shift our role from expert lecturer to expert coach, charged with the cognitive apprenticeship of students. Reflection and revision are two of our strongest tools in this regard and help students at the margins accelerate their skills over time.”

Favorite classroom move/idea number one: Begin a class period with time for students to reflect in writing and/or a turn and talk: What did you learn yesterday that stuck with you? What’s a concept that still feels confusing?

I picture this one in my math classroom. It’s pretty typical to take kid questions at the beginning of a math class. I like this idea better. Reflection and conversation.

Favorite classroom move/idea number two: End each week with a reflection protocol: What did I learn this week? What’s one thing I feel proud about? What’s one thing I’m still struggling with? Have them share their responses in small, ongoing peer groups and close with each student giving the peer to their left or right an appreciation.

Also picture this one in the context of a secondary math classroom. I LOVE the question, “What’s one thing I feel proud about?

Favorite classroom move/idea number two: Provide students with graphic organizers and structured protocols for giving each other feedback on their work. Teach them to sandwich feedback! “What I loved about this piece of work was … One question I had was … One suggestion I have is …”

One of the advantage of being a more senior educator, I was able to teach in a whole bunch of content areas. I love this move/idea in the context of both ELA and Social Studies classes.

I’m about halfway through the book and can’t wait to continue reading, learning, unlearning, and growing!

Author: Jeff Nelson

Jeff Nelson Fife School District Assistant Superintendent:Teaching-Learning-Innovation 39 years as an educator. 16 years teacher 3 years assistant principal 12 years principal 8 years Assistant Superintendent BA, Washington State University MAEd, Washington State University Previous member of AWSP Legislative Committee Previous member of UW Tacoma PEAB, Administrative Certification Established and maintained Fife’s first website for 7 years Present work includes establishing the first Teaching/Learning/Innovation department in the Fife School District. Examples of responsibilities include: teacher/administrator professional development, assessment, TPEP, curriculum/materials review, 24 credit requirement, technology levy leadership, teacher/administrator bargaining. Initiatives underway in Fife, as a result of new TLI Department: AVID, OER, Curriculum and Materials reviews, Student Perception Pilot with CSTP, Google Expedition Cofounder of Educational Internet Communications, LLC. Marketed and sold one of the first online grade checking programs in the US. Consulted with Seattle Educational Internet Company for 2 years. jnelson@fifeschools.com twitter.com/jeffnelsonTLI

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