Margaret Simon @ Reflections on the Teche DigiLit Sunday topic this week is “reflection.”
We’re working in a narrative writing unit right now. Personal narrative. Students have written several first drafts.
We wrote about trips, birthdays, Christmas, amusement parks. The times that seemed important.
We wrote small. About the beetle that flew in the classroom and made B. scream and N. try to catch it.
We notebooked and mined for ideas. We wrote again. About the haircut, the baseball hat, the Pokemon card.
We looked at our drafts and reflected. We asked what did this moment say. What really mattered. At first, what mattered was the fun, the excitement.
Then we asked what did we learn about ourselves at that moment.
And the answers changed to something that dug deeper to our sense of self.
Of who we are or were at that moment.
That’s challenging. It takes looking in and sorting through initial reactions and drama and asking why did I do this and what does it tell me about me. That’s reflective thinking.
Most of us go through life without doing much of this work. Things happen, we react without thinking. Looking back, to reflect on our reactions takes time, but that’s not all. Reflection is a habit. It is a process of excellence. Athletes do it. But thinking about our daily lives as something to improve to gold medal performance doesn’t feel necessary. Or maybe it’s not about excellence it’s about understanding. Maybe it’s about noticing who we are, noticing our reactions in the world, and making our stories within it.
Teaching children to be reflective, to think about what they do and why they do it may seem to be much more than how to read or write. But in fact, teaching students to understand who they are and be responsible for their actions is about reading and writing their lives.
A reflective mindset informs. It gives you data. How you reacted to the beetle, informs your future behavior.
Our writing and reading lives are about craft and structure and comprehension, but if we do it with reflection, it’s about who we are and who we can be in this world.