The first week of school has come to an end! Routines and relationships have been and are being built, learned and planned. One of my favorite parts about week two is taking time to reflect on what worked, what did not work, and what changes we can and need to make! The entire class can take time to practice reflection and practice communicating their desire to make goals that will push everyone towards a more successful school year. Of course, this should be done in a respectful way so that the decided upon changes and comments are both possible and sustainable. Notice how I am careful not to put this responsibility solely on the teacher. That is because it is also on the students to take time to reflect and share their own input. By including everyone in the process, relationships are made stronger and routines are more likely to be followed because the responsibility of following through is being held and agreed upon by everyone.
Knowing Your Direction
How powerful would it be if we had a common direction as a class and a school? There is a quote from Simon Sinek that relates to exactly this:
“Directions are instructions given to explain how. Direction is a vision offered to explain why. “
As we take time to reflect on how the routines and procedures taught that first week went and how they were perceived by our learners, we should keep in mind that there is a difference between giving directions and having direction. There is a time and place for both, and our learners could benefit by understanding when each one is appropriate.
For example, when I am introducing a new math concept, I may be giving literal directions that need to followed. When I am requesting students to share their learning, direction is given to guide learners toward a product of their choosing that will showcase their strengths and talents. The first is informative and does not allow for much voice and choice. The second is a vision that can be created and altered to match the interests and values of the student.
Trust circles are a powerful time to build community! They can also be powerful for influencing our daily routines and lessons because we are hearing the perspectives of the students. Hear them out, but be prepared to discuss and guide everyone towards an realistic and sustainable goal.
Tony Robbins talks about this when he discusses the idea of S.M.A.R.T (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and (in a) time frame) goals in a blog post called How Can I Create a Compelling Future? When we reflect and include everyone, we should also be connecting the changes that we choose to make to a goal that is specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and (in a) time frame.
When our goals are S.M.A.R.T and they are continuously reflected, they are much more likely to beneficial to our group as a whole.
I read this blog post, 4 Reflection Questions for the End of the School Year, at the end of the 2017/2018 school year from George Couros, the Keynote speaker who opened up the CVESD leadership event for the 2018/2019 school year.
” We move forward not by only looking to the future, but learning from the past.”
Moving forward is an important concept that we should all be working on! The questions that George Couros poses could be as easily applied to daily and weekly reflections as they are to the end of the school year! Why wait until we are about to get a new group of kids to start reflecting and thinking about what we can do to better reach every single learner? How powerful would it be if we used real time reflections and comments to continue our growth and the growth of our learners?