Saturday, March 28, 2015


Flickr // mrsdkreb
 One of my goals this year has been to focus on metacognition. Overall, I see a positive change; my students show more awareness of their learning and progress in the course. I still have more work to do; specifically, my students haven't demonstrated that they know how to maximize their own learning and they haven't expressed the importance of Metacognition.

What I've done so far:
The bulk of Metacognition has taken place through electronic journal entries and feedback forms. Students keep a journal in the Notability app on the iPads. I appreciate that Notability offers students the chance to organize their documents into folders. In addition to typing, students can draw or insert images, and even record their voices. PDF versions can be emailed to me. Typically, I ask students to reflect in their journal during the first and last few minutes of class, respectively called warm ups & exit tickets. While these tasks also include content based activities like Peer Instruction and review games, the majority of the time, students set goals, reflect about what they know and don't know, as well as evaluate their effort and group dynamics. An example of the first prompt of each week is below. 

Notice the first warm up of each week starts with students continuing their work before mapping out their week's goals. I made this shift after reading some research. Primacy & recency theory tells us that people remember the first and last things they witness; therefore, the first and last few minutes of each class are crucial. Rather than spending the first few minutes of Monday's class doing housekeeping, they should engage in the material. Whenever a warm up is not directly related to content, I instruct students to work on content then complete the warm up.

The exit tickets are almost always reflections on content or their progress in the course. I want students to remember if they need to work a little harder or work in a different group. For this reason, I want to provide choices in reflection because each prompt might be more relevant after a different lesson. 

What I still need to do:
There is still much work to be done and many unanswered questions to tackle. For example, I'm unsure if it's better to reflect for just a few minutes each period or for a more substantial amount of time just once per week. Currently, the reflections are only a couple of sentences long but I wonder if students will benefit more from blogging once per week. Student blogs could cover more ground. In addition, I've heard from teachers that students tend to write more effectively for an authentic audience when publishing their work on blogs. 

The second issue I'm wrestling with is how do I get students to buy into reflection. What can I do to show students the value of exit tickets or blogging? I can, of course, ask them to reglect about reflecting. The other thing is I can do is work on more effective prompts. 

Finally, I need to improve the accountability system. In my current "email me your journal" system, it's possible for students to fall through the cracks. Next year, I'll add a standard about Metacognition. This will not only help with forcing students to demonstrate skills of reflection but also force me to hold students accountable.