Monthly Archives: February 2020

Student Reflection in Our Classroom #MTBoS2020Challenge


This place is more than a bit dusty.  I’m more than a little embarrassed. But here I am.

Challenging  myself to post a blog for the challenge in under 20 minutes. Ha. (more like 30).

A tweet at lunch time reminded me that several things I do in the classroom are not always the norm in other math classes.  And that’s okay.  But I feel strongly about some of them.  Others I’ve forgotten how well they lend to open discussions and helping students move forward.

End-of-Lesson or End-of-Day Reflection

Students choose one sentence starter and write.  Then share at their table.  I walk around, listening, reading.  I will sometimes do these on sticky notes and let students rate their level of confidence as they exit the door.  Everyone can fit into at least one of these.  Often times, students will respond to all three.  The sentence starters:

Something I’ve learned…

Something I’ve realized…’

Something I was reminded of…

Vocabulary Rating Chart

This next one has opened my eyes at how easily we can miss information from our students, IF we don’t take the time to see/hear.  I initially learned about this from @mathequalslove, then modified it to fit my booklet style unit organizers for the composition notebooks.  It is easy to use, helpful to gain insight to students understanding and able to give some quick one-on-one help or a whole class discussion.  In class, we call them our Words Worth Knowing.  On the right hand column of this picture.

Before beginning a unit, students rate their understanding of the vocabulary.

  • 1 – I’ve never heard of it before.
  • 2 – I’ve heard this word before.
  • 3 – I think I know it.
  • 4 – I know it and can explain it to someone else.

Usually there are no big surprises on day 1.  However, I have noticed the higher ratings in recent years since CCSS has been in place with many vocabulary, which means we no longer must introduce the terms but simply build on their foundation.

Usually a couple of days prior to a test/quiz, I ask students to grab a marker and rate their current knowledge.  I walk around and observe, making note on any 1’s or 2’s – If a student has been absent or maybe I did not do a good job of getting that term across, I am able to address it immediately, fill in those gaps prior to the next assessment.  It only takes a few moments planning prior to the unit, but I see the benefits very worthwhile.

unit functions outside inb

Two-Minute Assessment Grid

2-minute assessment (reflection grid) – seen on the left side of the above picture.  I’ve used this many years and in many different settings and its almost always helpful.   If I include it on the unit organizer, I can quickly have students to respond.  However, my favorite is using the sticky notes as linked above.


  • + One improvement I can make…
  • ? A question I still have (if no Qs, then a caution…)
  • lightbulb – An A-HA moment
  • ! Something I want to remember…

It can be used with a lesson, or unit – but I like using the students questions to set up the next day’s lesson.  I’ll share some ideas about that later!

Student Engagement Wheel

I think between some moves and remodeling, I had lost this one.  But I ran across it in a binder the other day.  Its from @dsladkey – look him up.  I love this as a teacher reflection.   Some ideas for how I’ve used it.


You can do it daily or for the week.  But what’s more eye opening, is inviting you students to rate you.  When I see I’m low in an area, it makes me aware of what I need to consider when planning for the next week or unit.  Its a great tool for teachers to use and reflect on opportunities they provided for their students.  I love it.

An improvement I can make on student reflection…  

Giving students time to process their notes.  In a meeting a few weeks ago, our ALM colleague, Rita Messer, shared a couple of ideas to help students reflect and process their notes.  So often we give students notes, but how often do we ask them to do something really meaningful with them?

After a series of notes.  Pause. Let students read back through.  Ask them to give a summary of the MVP – the most valuable point of the notes.  Another idea would be to write about the Muddiest Point, what’s unclear about the notes.  As a teacher, walk around and observe what they are writing.  Have a brief conversation with them.  After they’ve written, allow them time to share. at their tables.  And listen.  You can quickly revisit their MPs and even highlight the MVPs before moving on to the next set of notes.  In a sense, this is a THINK-INK-PAIR-SHARE – but with the MVP or Muddiest Point, it gives students a focus as they are reviewing their notes.

Feel free to share ideas you have on student and teacher reflection in the classroom!

Thanks for the Challenge Jennifer Banks!