Saturday, July 11, 2015

Celebrate Reflection



Thank you to Ruth Ayres for the opportunity to focus on celebrations every week!
Today I want to celebrate reflection. I write. Today I write for many reasons. I've been thinking about why I started writing. My five year old niece, Jillian, just visited me for a few days and I shared my notebook with her. I asked her to write in it and draw a picture in it. She loved that and wanted a notebook of her own. We decorated it and wrote in it. I don't know if she will ever write in it again, but it reminded me of when I was little. I wondered when I decided to write.

In my first notebooks, it's a diary...an account of my days, with very little commentary on that. It's like I wanted to remember. As I continued to write through my teen years, the writing got more creative...I included poems I wrote...and very dramatic, after all, I was a teenager. I feel like it was around this time when I started to realize that writing helped me figure out what I was feeling. When I get upset, there are times when I can't figure out why. I'm not exactly sure what is bothering me or why something is bothering me so much! I discovered that writing helps me figure that out and I feel better. It doesn't solve my problems, but it gives me the opportunity to look at them clearly. The word "reflection" wasn't part of my vocabulary, but that's what I was doing. I was reflecting on something that had just happened and diving in deeply. 
Reflection helps me in all areas of my life. I want to talk about my professional reflection. As a teacher, days fly by on hyper-speed during the academic year. Taking time to write helps me focus. Making a schedule to write a few times every week about my teaching or my students or my professional goals has made me a better teacher. The "writing it down" part is amazing because there's a record of it and I can go back to it every year. This allows me to see patterns and growth and change. 
An article popped up this morning from NPR about this very topic, "The Writing Assignment that Changes Lives". It's worth a read. It addresses the improvement in students who write reflectively. I agree, but I want to add this...Teachers need to write reflectively. Our reflection helps us grow. Our reflection models for students how to do it and how valuable this practice is. What do you think of writing reflectively? How has it changed you? I celebrate reflection this morning!

10 comments:

  1. " Taking time to write helps me focus. Making a schedule to write a few times every week about my teaching or my students or my professional goals has made me a better teacher"' this is so smart and your absolutely correct about hyper speed. Love the journey with your niece.

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  2. I agree it's important to reflect. What a beautiful gift you've shared with Jillian. I hope she writes about her lovely life, too!

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  3. Hey, you know I am all about reflection. Reflection helps me reevaluate, sort, and make changes not only on a professional level, but also a personal level. Writing allows and enables me to do that. Loved that you shared notebooks with your niece...I am hoping she got a fun pen in the sharing too!

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  4. Read the article -great title for the course, Maps of Meaning. Love the idea of combining expressive writing with goal setting. It's always a challenge for me to reflect but always makes me grow. Love the pics of your niece! I'm spending time with great nieces and nephews on the farm.

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  5. You are singing my song. Love how you let your niece write in your journal. I'm sure she will remember that moment as a tide turner, the time my Aunt ... Spreading the love and power of writing is your gift! Thank you for the link to the NPR article. Powerful info!

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  6. It's beautiful that you shared this "writing thing" with your niece, Michelle. I bet she'll not soon forget that moment with you. Reflecting is a key to how we continue our lives, I think. I had my students reflect several times a week, mostly with the questions: "How am I doing this day, this week? What's working and what is not?" What do I need? Is there someone I can ask to help, or can I do it myself?" They had so much independent time that it felt important to do this to keep them grounded. Some go off starting something without much pre-planning, etc. I hope it started a habit too! Thanks for re-starting my thinking about this!

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  7. Writing has been part of your story for years and you still kerp growing. Isn't the continuous growth wonderful? I agree that teachers should spend more time writing reflections. It's one thing to think in your head, but writing makes reflection last. And see the patterns of growth and change, as you put so well.

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  8. Michelle,
    Okay, first off that photo of Jillian writing in a notebook is priceless. I hope you print and frame it! Yes, reflection is beautiful and I think it makes a difference when we reflect in writing. I'm glad you took the time to share your writing journey. I love to look back in order to see forward. Thanks for always celebrating.
    Shine on,
    Ruth

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  9. Precious pictures. What a lovely time was had - and your teaching self learned and shared, too. Awesome.

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  10. Excellent post to be shared with others!

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