Student Reflections – Creating students who think

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Do you ask your students for feedback on assignments, projects or tasks? Do you care if they enjoyed it? If they learned from it or even if they were challenged by it?

If not why not?

Here in Year 6 we are always looking for ways to improve the tasks we set, to ensure our students gain the maximum learning opportunities from them. This week they all completed their Choose Your Own Adventure stories and we have been seeking feedback from them on their learning and time management. This project is the writing aspect of our Term 3 English program. It involves the students writing a chapter of an adventure story with three possible endings each week and then posting this chapter on their blogs. As part of their homework they also had to visit four other student blogs and vote on the way they think the stories should continue the following week. During the term we also completed guided class lessons on grammatical features such as writing direct speech, as well as reinforcement of complex sentences, figurative language and genre.

Now it is the time to stop, reflect and challenge them to consider the following.

Rate your enjoyment of the CYOA narrative task
Rate your effort at this task
Write about any problems you encountered along the way
What have you learned as a writer?
Do you think we should do this in Year 6 next year.

It has been fascinating to read some of their responses. Not all of them are positive. Some have been really challenged by the time management aspects of such a task. Others have found it a fun task. Check out these comments to see just how reflective students can become when they are encouraged to stop and think about their learning and their progress.

I definitely think that I have improved in my writing by not only using punctuation correctly but also improving and widening my vocabulary. During this project I have really used my skills to improve my writing. A skill I used was just to clear my head and whenever I had an idea just write it on the paper then spend 15 minutes at the end to edit it and make it sound like a flowing story should. One more way I used was to write my main ideas down and the last 3 options, I then would just fill in the missing info. I think that next time I comment on someone’s blog I should definitely give them some valuable feed back, towards the end of the project I became slight lazy with commenting. This from student who really struggles with the whole process of writing.

I have learnt to be to the point but be descriptive. I learnt that its not good to just write ‘ flowery’ pieces of writing and waste time with your chapters and never get to the point. I also learnt that you don’t just do ‘ she hit him and then she got arrested for physical abuse’ I learnt to be descriptive but not too descriptive. It’s always good to get to the point!

I found that I went a bit overboard with some of my descriptions throughout my first few chapters. However, I learnt from this mistake and began to describe events more clearly and in a more engaging way.

Writing this CYOA story has helped me improved many things to do with my writing like: Tense – I think that I can now keep a consistent tense. Complex and compound sentences – I think that I have become very aware of not writing so many simple sentences. Describing words – I think that I have been thinking very hard while I am writing so that I use more describing words.

Teach your students to stop, to think and to reflect and reap the benefits. Incidentally we collected this feedback using a Google form, so easy. For more about the CYOA stories read this previous post. For more examples of my student Choose Your Own Adventure Stories visit our class blog Year 6rc


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