Each day, I begin my ELA class with Reading Time. This is a time for students to access a range of texts. I use this time to conference with students, collect data on class patterns and trends with independent reading and to provide individualized support.
To end the year, I have students reflect on the reading they have done throughout their time in eighth grade. They have had to read for 2.5 hours a week and had freedom to decide what they wanted to read. As a way for students to think about all the reading they have done, I have students reflect on their book choices and overall growth as a reader. They have done a lot of work and giving them this time to reflect on that work allows them to see the progress they have made and also helps me to see how far they have come. It's important to do this kind of reflection so students can see the importance of this independent reading as more than just busy work, as some did during the year.
I pull up the Year End Reading Reflection Powerpoint on the Smartboard and go through each slide one at a time. While many of the questions they have encountered in previous reflections, I remind them of what they will need to do. They will need to answer the questions from each slide as they work on creating an end of the year reflection.
The first step is the reading ladder. This has students list all the books they have read for the entire year. I got this idea from Book Love by Penny Kittle. After students create the ladder, they look reflect on it and think about what the ladder shows, if they have any thoughts on it, and what books have challenged them.
The last step lists various questions for students to think about as they work on writing the reflection. I tell students that, although there are a few questions, they can choose which one(s) to focus on. Some students grew as readers in different ways so giving them the option to choose which questions to answer allows them to show exactly how they grew. The questions they can choose from are as follows:
The next part of the lesson is giving students time to work on creating the reflection.
The rest of class is devoted to students working on the end of year reflection. Since we are approaching the end of school, it's beneficial to give students time to work in class. If not, they lose all motivation once they walk out of the building thinking the end of the year is right around the corner. When they are in class, they are more included (at least slightly more inclined) to work.
I tell students they have the rest of the class to write the reflection. They can either type the reflection or write them in their notebooks. They have the Powerpoint from the previous section to refer back to as they are writing. They can use it to write at their own speed and focus on the areas they want to focus on as they work at their own pace.
As a teacher, I spend time circulating around the classroom. Since students have done these reflections for previous marking periods, the work is nothing new so there is usually not many questions. The major job as a teacher is to keep students motivated and to change the focus when they start complaining since it's the end of the year and eighth graders are always honest about not wanting to do work. To combat this, I am honest with them about why I am having them to this. I want them to show me how they have grown so I can use this information when I talk to school administration about the work I require of my students for their independent reading. I also tell them that this will help them to think back on the year as a whole. While some of them may not be motivated to do this on their own, there are more willing since we are doing it in class.
Here are various examples of student work for this end of the year reflection from various types of readers:
This video explains how I review these reflections: Reflection Review.