Saturday, 26 March 2011 17:45

Tip #28: Improving Your Writing Workshop (Part 4 of 4)

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The Teaching Tips will focus on the topic of Writing Workshop for the next four weeks.

Week 1: Peer Revising
Week 2: The Writing Workshop Warm-up
Week 3: Four-Color Editing
Week 4: Written Reflections

Written Reflections

During a typical school day we are often so busy trying to help our students learn knowledge and skills that it can be difficult to find the time to have everyone reflect on that learning.

Such metacognitive endeavors, however, are incredibly valuable, and I try to incorporate these activities into the curriculum as frequently as possible.  Sometimes I ask my students to reflect orally while other times I want them to reflect in writing.


To make these metacognitive experiences as worthwhile as possible, teachers need to possess a repertoire of strong reflection prompts, ones that helps students think about their learning on a deep level.  

Good reflection prompts encourage kids to think about the decisions they made and the strategies they used while completing a piece of work.  In addition, strong prompts help kids analyze how they approached their work, identify their strengths and weaknesses, and look ahead to the future.  Prompts can also help build self-esteem and instill pride and confidence.

As part of the Writing Workshop process we use in our classroom, I have the kids complete written reflections at the conclusion of each major project.  Below I have included many of the prompts I like to use.  Typically, I will include four or five of these prompts with every project.  The first prompt that I listed is one I include consistently, while I tend to rotate through most of the others.

Please feel free to share others that you have found to be effective.

Reflection Prompts

What are your next steps as a writer? In other words, which part of your writing are you the most determined to improve? Explain why.

What was the most valuable lesson you learned about writing while working on this project?

What did you learn about yourself as a writer from working on this project?

What are the best parts of this project?

What challenges did you face as you worked on this project?

Which part of your project makes you the proudest? Why?

What was the most difficult part of this project for you?

What did you enjoy the most about working on this project?

Do you consider yourself a strong revising partner? Why or why not?

Do you consider yourself a strong editor of your own work? Why or why not?

Which part of the writing process is your favorite?  Explain why.

Which part of the writing process is the most difficult for you?  Explain why.

New Teaching Tips appear every Sunday of the school year.