Reflective Writing for Portfolios

Reflective Writing
“We do not learn so much from experience as
we do from reflecting on our experience.”
– John Dewey
PPT provided by Alan Olson and available for use as needed.
Reflective Writing
Reflection can increase
a student’s awareness
of the learning value
they received from an
experience. Writing
can help increase the
chance that a student’s
learning is not limited
to the past, but rather
the experience has
value for the student’s
“Just as no man lives
or dies to himself, so
no experience lives
and dies to itself.
Every experience
lives on in further
experiences.” - John
Reflective Writing
In order to think and write well
reflectively, a student must carefully
consider what she or he has learned
during an experience. Reflective writing
involves a process of self-assessment that
can be meaningful and memorable
whether it is associated with classroom
projects, portfolio reflections, assessment
activities, in journals about field or lab
experiences, and much more.
An important decision …
How formal should the student writing be?
 I have assignments that I am 100% concerned
about the thought and learning the students’
 I have assignments that I want the students to
write as if the product they send to me is a letter
going out to parents.
 Either way – if the topic is reflective writing, the
content I am looking for is not focused on what
the student did as much as it is about what the
student learned and how the experience has
potential to benefit he or she in the future.
Reflective Writing: personal experience as a teacher
Too much
direction from
the teacher may
lead the
students to
writing what he
or she thinks
the teacher
wants to hear.
Too little direction from the
teacher may yield a series of
short, writings that state “I did
this and this and this.” The
writer’s emphasis becomes a
reporting of what the student
did without valuable
comments about what the
student actually “learned and
will be able to do in the future
because of this experience”.
Reflective writing
A student’s reflective writing can be
even more meaningful if a teacher
can provide timely and descriptive
Classroom use of
reflective writing
with one Ability project.
Abilities – Skills - Levels
University Abilities
Abilities – Skills - Levels
VCSU Course Portfolio Project:
VCSU Ability: Collaboration - to work
together to reach a common goal.
Skill: Positive Interdependence – understands
responsibility and acts appropriately to
promote the group’s success.
Level Four: Self-Assesses Group Contributions
Course Ability Project: Collaborative peer
teaching lesson involving measurement .
Students in Math 278 will ...
Learn the content presented in the lesson.
Be in contact with the Smartboard.
Create a mathematics game that help fellow classmates have
a fun learning experience, that will also be intended for use
with students in the future.
Find Websites to help students review content for “today”, as
well as to prepare resources as teachers for the future.
Develop sample problems, practice and test questions that
give students real-life math application opportunities.
Prepare an electronic copy of a lesson plan, assignment, test,
and PowerPoint that will be shared in advance with
instructor, and after the lesson with all the students in the
class so everyone may benefit from the content of the lesson.
Work collaboratively with peers to Plan a high quality lesson,
Implement and make adjustments in a lesson, and create an
Evaluation device for a lesson. (PIE + R)
*Reflect on what you have learned so this experience
will benefit you in the future.
(Considerations for writing your reflective statement, due after your
group presents their project to class. I need these turned in before I
can complete my grading. The bold print is the type of thinking you
want to address for your graduation portfolio.)
Part I
Part II
What happened?
What went well? What parts of this lesson would you
consider using in the future?
Part III What would you change to help your future
students learn?
Part IV What did I learn about collaborating
with a group?
Part V What did I learn about myself as a member of a
group working toward a common goal?
Part VI How will I be able to collaborate with
faculty, students, and others in the
Not all three of these examples are strong.
Example 1
Example 2
Example 3
It is interesting to read student
reflections to have a better
understanding of what students are
learning and finding most meaningful!
“Perhaps the greatest of all pedagogical
fallacies is the notion that a person learns
only the particular thing he is studying at the
time.” – John Dewey
Brief snapshots of sentences written by students that are
examples of reflective statements from the past…
It’s nice to hear different ideas to work out problems
and work collectively to find the solution we find most
One part of the project that I think I would be able to
use in my classroom is the Mr. Gallon. It was a great
visual aid for students to see conversions. The lesson
we did was directed towards an upper elementary
classroom. I would make the problems that we had a
little easier for the lower level of students that I wish to
I learned that it is difficult to get group members
together. We had to use our class time, plus we had to
email and organize what all of us needed to do. Finding a
time to meet was tough, we did finally get together and
everyone chipped in to due their part in the end. I liked
the end product, but I learned that it collaboration can
involve frustrating moments.
More examples of reflective thoughts …
I really enjoyed doing this project, and I think I will save this
PowerPoint and use it in my future classes.
I learned that when working with a group I like to have creative
control over what things will look like or how they will be
presented. I need to learn to allow others to be in charge and
take responsibility for their parts instead of taking them on
I learned I have to listen to other people. Sometimes it is hard
for a group to make a decision because there are so many ideas
and thoughts. Working as a group, members not only have to
share their information, but also listen to each other.
I think that collaborating with others in the future will be very
good for me. I think the more I work with others on projects,
the more I will learn. Different people always provide various
kinds of information, and I think that is very beneficial in working
in a group. I will be able to collaborate with faculty, students, and
others in the future by allowing myself to open up to new ideas
that people have. I find that if you have an open mind, things
usually go more smoothly.
Reflective Writing in:
Class writings: will encourage preservice teachers to understand
the value and connection of mathematics in their own lives and
promote awareness for children of varying cultural backgrounds to
learn the relevance of mathematics and problem solving skills in their
lives. Journal writings are assigned to seek student thought and build
student-instructor connections. Reflection for improvement is a goal
for both teaching and learning. Students write about their
experiences and philosophy of math with the goal of learning from
previous math experiences as they continue to develop their
knowledge base and understanding of the importance of mathematics
in their future.
Examples of reflective topics the math class will write on and discuss
together in class:
Why do children need to learn mathematics?
Explain your previous experiences, triumphs and disasters in mathematics.
In your experiences, have girls and boys been taught math equally and fairly?
How do you use mathematical skills in your life?
What should an elementary educator know about mathematics and be able
to do as a teacher?
Reflective Writing in Journals:
Topic starter journaling ideas for
field experiences:
Student Teaching
If the student feels a course project
is an example of their best work,
the project may be selected by the
student for his or her graduation
example of a student portfolio slide
In this collaborative project,
our group taught a lesson on
English/Metric System
Our project included:
A Lesson plan
An assignment with
practice problems
Use of a PowerPoint
Use of the Smartboard
Use of Related Websites
Ten test questions
A math game
Each member taught at least one
portion of the lesson and we each
wrote a reflection paper at the end
of the experience.
(This is only a sample, the links are not live.)
Reflective Writing in Portfolios:
General Portfolio Ideas
Portfolio purpose
Portfolio Reflection
Specific Examples
Portfolio Reflection
 Video
 2nd reflective example
Reflective Writing
To reflect is to look
back over what has
been done so as to
extract the net
meanings which are the
capital stock for
intelligent dealing with
further experiences.
 Reflection is the heart
of intellectual
organization and of the
disciplined mind.
The most
important attitude
that can be formed
is that of desire to
go on learning. –
John Dewey

similar documents