Reflecting on a Year of Learning

  • by Kelly Harmon & Randi Anderson
  • April 28, 2011, 5:09 p.m.

As we conclude (already!) another year of learning, all learners need to stop and reflect on this year’s accomplishments and goals for the future. Be sure to schedule time for success celebrations so that your students can receive praise and acknowledgement for their efforts. A good friend of mine always says “Anything worth learning is worth celebrating!”

To get your students started, brainstorm the curriculum standards for reading, writing, spelling, math, science, and social studies that have been practiced and (hopefully) mastered this year. I like to use a graphic web for each content area and create a web of strategies, skills, knowledge, and facts that have been learned this year. Then, individually, I ask the student to fill out the 2 Stars and 2 Wishes reflection sheet. Have students look for evidence of learning accomplishments in their journals, reading logs, projects, writing compositions, etc. Guide them to choose pieces from early in the year, as well as pieces from later. Students should be able to say “ This shows I know how to ….” Or “This shows I can…”
Attach a Work Reflection Log sheet to each piece of evidence.

The end of the year is also a great time for making an audio or video recording of each child reading, explaining facts, or sharing a personal composition. You can use Audacity for a PC and GarageBand on a Mac to create the audio recording. Many computers also have QuickTime that can be used with a computer camera to create a video. After the recording is made, copy it to a disc and send it home. This is really a great end-of-year gift for parents. My children (who are all now grown) did this with the technology of the 90’s (VHS and cassette tapes). I cherish this recording of their history!

Invite parents and staff members to review each child’s mastery portfolio that shows work samples from the entire year. Include a page for reviewers to write a brief praise statement for each student. What a great way to wrap up a successful school year!

Audacity is a free download. For more information go to:

Happy teaching,
Kelly Harmon

Kelly Harmon and Randi Anderson

About The Authors

Kelly Harmon & Associates began in 2001 with a mission of instructional coaching and providing rich literacy resources for educators and parents. Our work incorporates research-based best practices for teaching and learning.

Learn More »