Teacher Reflection Journal

Students need teachers who are continuously reflecting on their practice, their beliefs, and how they intersect with each other
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About This Strategy

The purpose of this strategy is to build a culture of reflection. This strategy can be modified to be used in numerous coaching situations; it can even be modified to be used in high school classrooms. The goal is for teacher and staff reflection and using that reflection to improve teaching practices.

Implementation Steps

  1. Give your teachers a composition notebook. 

  2. Each week, send out a reflection email asking teachers a specific reflective question on a Wednesday after school. Teachers are expected to complete the  reflection question by Monday morning.  

  3. Teachers are to answer the question in their journal using a school-wide constructed response strategy (see  below for examples). 

  4. Teachers should bring journals with them to collaborative meetings with job-alike colleagues and they should also bring the journals with them to weekly school-wide collaborative meetings. 

  5. Journal questions directly relate to school goals, school mission/vision, school improvement plan, etc. 

    • Sample progression 

      • Quarter  1- Focus on building a reflective atmosphere:

        • What were the highs and lows of the first week? How can the lows become highs?

        • Write down five names of students and tell what you know about this student.

        • 4-1: Write four positive notes to four separate families. Bring them down to your instructional coach who will mail them home for you. In your journal record the names of students that you wrote notes home for. Only after these four notes are mailed home can you make 1 student concern phone call. 

        • What was the best moment in your classroom this year so far? Why?

        • What do you need to give yourself permission for? Why? Use sticky notes to make these "permission slips".

        • What does success mean to you?

      • Quarter 2 - Focus on personal beliefs (Indicate whether you agree or disagree with the following and why):
        • All students can learn.
        • Everyone is doing the best they can.
        • Socio-economic status doesn't matter.
        • The American dream is achievable by all.
      • Quarter 3 - Focus on cultural relevance:
        • What did you teach this week? How was it relevant to students? How could this lesson have been more relevant to your students?

        • Pick one student from your roster, answer the following question(s) from the student's point of view, regarding you: 

          • 3- What are three items that this teacher (you) do well in the student's point of view?

          • 2- What are two things this teacher (you) should focus on for second semester from the student's point of view?

          • 1- What is one piece of advice you would give to other students who will have this teacher (you)?

        • How do you celebrate students' cultures and backgrounds in your classroom?

        • What is the difference between culturally relevant vs. culturally sustaining? Do you want to focus on relevance or sustenance?

      • Quarter 4 - Focus on making changes in practice for next school year:
        • Go back to Quarter 3 question 1. Rewrite this lesson/unit for next school year to implement the changes you noted. (This revision process will take place for two weeks).

        • Continue to rewrite the lesson/unit for next school year to implement the changes you noted.

        • What can you do next school year to better celebrate cultures and backgrounds next school year?

  6. To encourage but not monitor use of journals, random activities during staff meetings and collaborative times will begin with the reflection question from the week before. 

  7. Drawings and prizes can be given randomly for journal entries. Also, lunch can be provided for staff each semester for completing 90% of all of the journals that semester.