We are continuing to add to our “What Stuck With You?” chart in 3rd grade.  Reflection is such an important piece to the learning puzzle for both students and teachers.  I’m finding that the reflection is a lot more meaningful with my 3rd graders so I’m only doing this chart with them for the time being.  I may try to add 2nd grade back into this chart later on in the year.

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Some of the reflections are surface level like “I’ll sound it out”, but some of them go much deeper.  Last week I was teaching a lesson and we were reading the book Animals with Wings.  At the very end of the book the author asks a series of questions regarding the information in the book.  I asked the students to go over that section if they finished before everyone else while I was conferencing with another student.  I heard one of the students read the question and then say, “Oh!  I better go back.”  And out of the corner of my eye I saw him turn to the section where he’d find that information.  Talk about a teachable moment!!!!  I had to stop at that very moment and talk about how that was a strategy excellent readers use.  We read for meaning and to learn about something.  If we aren’t sure of the answer we don’t just shrug our shoulders and say, “Eh!  Oh well!  Maybe next time.”  We have to go back to understand–to comprehend.  So I was thrilled when many of the students wrote on their post it note at the end of the day that going back and re-reading was something that they felt was important and would take back with them to do on their own as a way to help themselves be a better reader and writer.

I feel like this reflection piece has been extremely important for both of us.  For me, because I’m seeing what they value and what they think is important.  For them, because it’s not just “OK group is over.  Let’s close that file in my brain.  Back to my regular life.”  They are transferring back and forth and finding real ways to help them when I’m not breathing down their necks to do it.  I’m allowing them to be independent learners.  And as much as I would love for them to need me forever, I’m proud that I’m giving them strategies to fly on their own.  Perhaps the story should have been called Students With Wings because my babies are flying!

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