Aug 20, 2021 2021-08-20
By Jen Schneider
If this past year taught us anything, it was to pause. The year had many stops, whether it was transitioning from remote to in-person or hybrid learning (or back to remote) or required quarantine.
With the stop and go year, sometimes it was hard to pause and reflect on our teaching methods and what was working (and not working for our students). Reflection is such a huge part of practice and what we require our students to do, but it’s so important for teachers to stop and reflect as well.
I’m not talking about the year-end, formal evaluation. Reflection can be something done privately for yourself. There are a few tools that can help you reflect on your classroom practices and school year using technology.
You don’t have to be a big name, book-selling teacher to start a blog. In fact, you may choose to have a private blog just for yourself. Blogging after a unit or even once a week to reflect on the things going well (and not-so-great) in your classroom can be a cathartic experience. Looking back on blog entries years (or even just months) later can remind you how to get through tough times and celebrate moments that keep you going.
Some free blogging tools are Google Sites, Blogger (through Google), Wix, WordPress.com, SquareSpace, and Weebly. You may also want to consider blogging with your students. The sites previously listed, as well as Kidblog and Edublogs, are popular for student blogging.
An informal reflection space that can be easily organized is Google Keep. Color code your Keep notes for each content area or by actionable items. For example, you may have yellow “happy moments,” red “things to change up,” and blue “things I will try again.” You may also choose to have a color for each unit or month.
Google Keep gives you the ability to link to other websites and Google resources within your notes. In addition, you may add images, photographs, and drawings. “Keep” your reflections going with this simple, free tool.
Video reflections may make you nervous, but you don’t have to be a TikTok influencer with a ring light to get in front of the camera. YouTube, TikTok, Flipgrid, or even your own camera roll can all be private accounts where you keep a video journal of personal reflections on the school year and your practice. If you aren’t sharing personal student information, you can make your account public (or approve followers) on any platform. Many teachers spent a lot of time in front of a camera during the last school year. Rather than write out reflections, it may feel more natural to continue to share them on screen with your voice.
The next time you tell students to reflect on what they’ve learned, don’t forget to do the same for yourself. Reflect on the highs and lows of your year whether it’s content or classroom management. Share the moments where you’ve reached kids and the times that it’s been really tough to get through. Using these tech tools can help you reach reflection goals. What do you use to reflect on your classroom practice?
A guest blog by Jen Schneider. Repost courtesy of NETA.