Digital Journaling to Support Student Self-Assessment and Reflection

Use Digital Journaling to increase student agency and engagement, while making the reflection and self-assessment process more manageable
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Strategy Introduction

About This Strategy

Digital Journaling to Support Student Self-Assessments and Reflections creates a process that allows students to self-assess, reflect, set goals, and to answer reflective questions while students are working independently during individual rotation, station rotation, or even a project. This strategy helps students hold themselves accountable through the learning process, so that students can reflect on what they've completed and learned. This strategy also allows the teacher to leverage technology to decrease their workload while increasing student engagement. This strategy can be used in 3rd through 12th grade in any content area.

Implementation Steps

30 minutes
  1. First, identify where and when during a lesson or activity students should have a moment to self-assess, monitor their progress, and reflect. Possible options include: at the end of the lesson, in a specific station, or embedded throughout the lesson or activity.

  2. Identify specific reflection questions that students should respond to based on the learning activity or lesson. Possible questions could include:

    • Did I work as hard as I could?

    • Did I meet the expectations I or the teacher set?

    • Did I ask questions of my peers or the teacher when I was struggling or didn't understand?

    • I feel good about...

    • Two things I will remember from this activity or lesson are...

    • If I could do something differently, I would...

  3. Consider combining self-assessment and reflection strategies with this digital journaling strategy to build a strong foundation for self-assessment and reflection. Self-assessment and reflection strategies located in the BetterLesson Lab include: Marzano Self-Assessment Rubric; 3-2-1 To Activate Knowledge, Reflect, and Self-Assess; Delay a Grade for Student Reflection and Revision; and Weekly Goal Setting and Reflection.

  4. Explore the tech tools listed in the tech tools sections to decide which tech tool would work best for your students and within the lesson or activity that students will be reflecting on. Use a tech tool for students to digitally respond to the self-assessment and reflection questions. See the tech introduction videos in the Resources section for support around using SeeSaw and Whooo's Reading for digital journaling.

    • Model with students how to access the digital tool, if it is new for the class. Walk students through the expectations around using technology and around digital journaling. Consider writing the steps or expectations on an anchor chart for students to refer to as they are completing the digital journaling.

    • It may help to set a time for digital journaling to help keep students focused.

    • Decide what forms of reflection and self-assessment are acceptable for digital journaling in the classroom. Forms could include a typed reflection, a voice recorded reflection, a video reflection, etc.

  5. It's important to note that self-assessments and reflections are not meant to be assessed for a grade. It is important to help students understand and see the value of their self-reflections and self-assessments, though. This can be done through providing specific feedback to students based on their self-assessments and reflections. Several strategies to consider trying for targeted feedback include: Microuping to Provide Feedback, Student Conferences with Teacher, Self-Assessment Conferences, Glow and Grow Feedback, and I Like, I Wish, I Wonder Feedback. These strategies can be found in the BetterLesson Lab.

Questions to Consider

  • How could you encourage honest reflection of students when completing this self-assessment?

  • What could be challenging about this strategy, and how could you address any challenges in advance?

  • How could you provide targeted feedback to help students grow from and monitor growth from their self-assessments and reflections?

Tech Tools


  • Seesaw allows for the documentation of artifacts, audio, video, and writing that can easily be shared with an entire class or with parents as students build their seesaw portfolio. Seesaw can also be used as a class discussion tool via its blog feature.

  • Seesaw provides various ways for students to respond to self-assessment and reflection questions in an engaging digital format. Seesaw can be used with this strategy to help students build a portfolio of typed, audio, or video reflections and self-assessments throughout lessons and activities.


Flip Grid

  • Flipgrid is a video discussion platform great for generating class discussion around topics, videos, or links posted to the class grid. Students can video record their responses to share with the teacher or class.

  • Flipgrid can be used with this strategy by allowing students the opportunity to create video responses to self-assessment and reflection prompts.


Whooo's Reading

  • Whooo's reading is a reading website designed to help students think critically about what they read. Students can answer questions about what they're reading, see what books their peers are reading, and even write reviews of books they read. Students can either type or record all of their responses, and teachers can send feedback via the website.

  • Whooo's reading can be used with this strategy by allowing students to document written or spoken reflection and reviews of books they are reading independently.