Sunday, September 2, 2012


I have been thinking more and more about student reflections. Especially when working on big projects. Last year, I frequently suspected that my students had the feeling of, "OK, the project is done. I felt like it was exciting while we were working on it, but who cares." Even when I got students published or when we created something really unique, it felt sort of like another school project.

I would like to find a way to place these accomplishments more firmly in the realm of, "Hey, I participated in something unique." Maybe reflection is the path to this.

So, this year my big project that I am really focused on is a movie that we will make in my American Literature class. I will have students filming outside of class, and then editing it together to make a complete monologue in several different voices. More on that later.

This will also be tied to a unit on personal narratives which is really a form of reflection also, so students should be used to the idea by the time we get to the filming stage.

"... to reflectively experience is to make connections within the details of the work of the problem, to see it through the lens of abstraction or theory, to generate one's own questions about it, to take more active and conscious control over understanding." ~ From Teaching With Your Mouth Shut

What I am also going to have them do, however, is film a "making of" movie. I will explain that it will be to help other teachers be able to do a similar type of project in their class, but it will really serve as a type of reflection for the students, a way to talk about and display what they enjoy about the project.

Here are a couple of links that led me to this type of thinking. Peter Papas' article on Reflective Taxonomy and his blog including a Making Of Video. He didn't make the connection to reflective thinking in doing such a project, but that is what he accomplished.

Video Education Differences

Technology in the classroom:

An interesting video on what makes the difference between countries leading in educational testing scores and the United States. Also relevant to different ways to create video instruction.