This week we celebrated growth and learning through student-led conferences. In third grade we have slowly collected papers and photographs to put into our portfolios. This is a three step process for the Magical Minds:
- Portfolio File: This is a collection of EVERYTHING we have done. When I return papers, the kids put them into their file to be sorted through later.
- Fancy Portfolio: Every other week, the Magical Minds sit down with their portfolio file and choose their favorite works to put in their fancy portfolio.
- Reflection: Most of our reflections take place during the week leading up to student-led conferences. We take time to look back over our work, explaining the learning and sharing successes.
I enjoy watching the children’s reflective practice grow and improve over time. It’s important to me and the PYP for kids to develop a reflective practice, because of the power it has to change who we are and what we do. As an educator, I am constantly reviewing my lessons, where the Magical Minds are in their learning, and what I need to do to be the best teacher I can be. It is through reflection that we discover how to strive to be better people. It is through reflection that we explore how to better the world around us.
Although I think humans are, by nature, reflective creatures, I believe it is also a skill that can be nurtured and cultivated. How many times have you asked your child, “So, what did you do today?” Only to hear, “I don’t know.” For a child, this probably means, I am to tired to think about it. Reflecting is hard work for the third grade brain. This is why I work to build a routine of reflecting. Everyday (well, most days) I ask the Magical Minds to answer a question about their day. For example, “How were you reflective today?” or “What did you learn today?” They are expected to write their answers on sticky notes or in a small notebook. And, their “ticket out of class” is to explain their answer.
It’s not the most fun thing we do in third grade, but reflecting is one of the most important skills we build as lifelong learners.