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Helping Students See This Year’s Growth

Helping Students See This Year’s Growth

Making it through a school year in itself is an accomplishment. The years may fly by for you as a teacher, but there were points where the students believed that June would never get here. Although all they may want to do is look forward, it’s important for your students to see how they’ve grown in their skills during the course of the year and celebrate their successes, no matter how small.

Here are some ways to guide students with reflection to move forward.

Create an Impromptu Portfolio

Portfolios were invented specifically for reflection. The more comprehensive they are, the clearer the picture. But, something is better than nothing.

If you and/or your students are procrastinators when it comes to portfolios, fear not! With the existing digital and physical work that students have done throughout the school year, you can get an idea of where they were starting from versus where they are finishing. If some skills did not develop as you would like, be honest and help students find a root cause that they can work on before the school year is out. No matter what, express your pride in their work over the course of the year.

Take a Trip Down Memory Lane

Spend some time reminding students of where the class has been over the course of the year. Take a unit-by-unit view, asking for their feedback and thoughts they may have about how the year shook out now that they have some distance. The idea here is to show students that there was a progression in learning goals and skills built on top of each other to get them where they are today. At each step, point out the times in which students struggled through a difficulty but persevered. Those challenges probably seem minuscule now, which will demonstrate to them the power of the growth mindset.                                                                                 

Offer More Self-Directed Learning

Autonomy leads to engagement, and as the calendar gets closer to June, engagement will be hard to come by. Meanwhile, your curriculum probably opens up a bit after testing season.

Consider giving students more input on what they want to learn. That’s not to say that there should not still be learning goals. Instead, it will be a way to reflect upon student growth throughout the school year, now that you feel they are capable of deciding how they reach those learning goals. This is not “mailing it in.” Think of it as celebrating the fact that your students have grown enough to take on more responsibility in their job of learning.

Taking time out to help students reflect upon and celebrate their growth over the course of the school year is the first step in preparing them for the next one. If they can go into the summer with the right mindset, it will be easier to get them ready to work again come September.

Interested in finding out ways to keep students engaged throughout the summer? Check out these Best Practices in Assigning Summer Learning!