“How can I develop authentic reflective learners?” take #5

In an earlier post I shared about my plans for developing authentic reflective learners who move towards taking ownership of their learning.

At first my students’ reflections were quite simplistic and focused on their behaviour, which was relevant but I wanted them to go deeper. We have now been through the “River of Learning” reflective process three times. Bearing in mind that reflection happens on an ongoing basis for my learners, the students’ weekly reflections now show greater insight into their efforts to be reflective and to take ownership of their learning.

The weekly “River of Learning” reflective process is being owned more by them too. They ask to do it and most don’t need me to support them anymore. They are engaged and the sharing is purposeful and sincere.

I love reading their reflections and their goals. I am so excited for my students and for myself. I am learning to let go and they are learning to take ownership.


“How can I develop authentic reflective learners?” take #3

My next step…

I gathered my students in small groups and revisited the question “How is blowing bubbles connected to our bubble catcher/ thinking book?” From their responses I could tell they had made a solid connection.

Our aims for the year…

Next I wanted to establish with them what our aims were for this year. We nutted this out for a while and went back and forth clarifying their thoughts and mine. Over two days and through small and whole class discussions this is what we set for our aims for the year…

• to become reflective learners who realise when we are being “good” learners and
• to choose to behave as “good” learners do and
• to understand what we can do to become even better learners
• take ownership of our learning – be the boss of our own learning

Next we clarified how the bubble catcher could help us achieve our aims…

This book is a place to catch our thinking before we forget.
Like bubbles, our thoughts can drift off or “pop” and be forgotten if we don’t capture them by writing them down.

We realised that the bubble catcher is a place for us to catch ourselves being good learners. So we then defined what we thought it meant to be a good learner.

“What does a “good” learner do?”

A good learner…
• Respects members of their class/ group in discussions – disagrees politely, takes turns, etc.
• Is open-minded when considering the ideas of others
• Is reflective about their learning, their attitude and their behaviour
• Is a thinker at all times and in all situations
• Is focused on the task at all times
• Actively listens to others
• Communicates well – doesn’t interrupt, listens, lets others speak
• Is a risk taker and is prepared to have a go
• Can work independently when required
• Is organised
• Asks questions about their learning

Questions good learners ask themselves…

I asked them what kind of questions do learners ask themselves when they are in the process of learning. I am very excited by their responses:

 What should I be doing?
 Do I need to think some more?
 What should I do next?
 Do I understand?
 Am I on task?
 Do I know the answer?
 Has this already been said?
 What else could I ask about this?
 Is there more I know about this?
 How can I solve this problem?

Sacffolding their reflections…

To scaffold their reflections we decided to divide each double page into three parts and use our three driving questions as a structure.

What did we do? Why did we do it? How am I doing?

In small groups, with me facilitating, we had a go at using our bubble catchers. As some became more confident, they paired up and guided others who were still unsure.

Here are a few reflections…
What did we do? I did my bubble catcher.
Why did we do it? To catch my thinking.
How am I doing? I could work on my catching skills because I forget my thinking, but I was on task and worked hard.
What did I do? Circle Time focusing on cooperation and collaboration.
Why did we do it? To learn to work well in groups.
How am I doing? I think I am doing well with cooperating and collaborating but I need to get better at not having private conversations. I think that I am learning a lot by working in a group because we can learn from each other.


What’s next?

Today we are going to have a go at taking these reflections and using them to have a conversation with a partner about our learning journey this week. Then each student will look at their strengths and weaknesses evident in their bubble catcher reflections and have a go at setting goals for themselves for next week. These will be recorded on the “River of learning” sheet .

Over the weekend…

I will cut up the “river” to separate each child’s reflection. I will read what they have written so that i can be supportive next week.

On Monday…

I will give each student their reflection. We will start our new week by reminding ourselves of the goals we have set and commit to putting them into action.


The conversations where they shared about their learning journeys were so worthwhile. Read about what happened in this blog post.