Sharpening the Saw
We can all agree that we want students who are growing in their capacity to be self-directed, make better choices, and interact positively with one another. In order to do this, we have to give time for students to reflect and improve. Stephen Covey calls this sharpening the saw:
“Suppose you came upon someone in the woods working to saw down a tree. They are exhausted from working for hours. You suggest they take a break to sharpen the saw. They might reply, “I don’t have time to sharpen the saw, I’m busy sawing!”
So many standards to cover. So many behavioral issues to manage. So many interruptions. So much paperwork. Yet, when we do not give time for learners to reflect on how they learn, how they choose, and how they interact with others, we are missing the chance for students to improve themselves and their learning community. Their self-improvement and self-directed muscles atrophy, and then we complain that students make poor decisions and do not take responsibility for their own learning.
Reflection in an Agile Classroom
What if there was an engaging, easy, and interactive way for learners to sharpen their saw? Introducing how Reflections happen in an Agile Classroom. The purpose of the Reflection is to create a space for teachers and students to improve the learning process, enrich classroom relationships, and to better adapt the learning environment to the needs of the classroom. The Reflection can occur at any time that is needed, but, usually happens at the end of the cycle of the Learning Rhythm, as shown in the diagram below.
The outcome of the Reflection is the insights and action plan to immediately try in the next cycle of the Learning Rhythm. Reflections can be used for the whole classroom, learning teams, or the individual learner.
Glows & Grows Reflection
Agile Classrooms makes
reflections highly visual, interactive and engaging with an ever growing set of Reflection Canvases. Our most popular Reflection Canvases is
the Glows and Grows Reflection Canvas.
The Glows and Grows Reflection Canvas is divided into 4 quadrants that guide your learners in self-discovery and self-improvement:
1. What Glowed? What did we do well? What strengths did we discover?
2. Where to Grow? Where can we improve? Ideas to make changes?
3. What to Throw? What is not working for us? What do we stop doing? Where are we working from our weaknesses that may be better served by working from our strengths?
4. Now I Know? What did we discover about ourselves and our learning? What did we try this time and what were the results?
Holding the Reflection
For multiple learning styles, I have provided 2 formats to learn how to apply the Reflection Canvas: (1) watch the overview video or (2) read step by step instructions.
Reflection Canvas Video:
The Reflection Step by Step Instructions:
Step 1: Brainstorm
Have students think about the last week for each quadrant. You might want them to think about:
Have learners write down one idea per sticky note and place on the appropriate quadrant on the Reflection Canvas.
Step 2: Group
Group like items, summarizing each into categories.
Step 3: Prioritize
Now, prioritize the impact of each. You can do this through dot-voting what they think is most important out of the ideas.
Step 4: Commit
Create an action plan based on the top Grow and Throw Items that can be implemented in the next week.
Step 5: Celebrate
Celebrate the effort and vulnerability it takes to grow and take ownership of their actions.
You can use the Reflection Canvas for individual student self-reflection, learning team reflection or the whole classroom reflection. Oh, teachers and staff can use this as well!
Now that you are holding frequent Reflections, your students are empowered to learn how to learn, self-manage their own behavior, build positive relationships, and use their strengths. And aren’t these perhaps the most important standards a classroom should be learning?
Reflections are just one part of Agile Classrooms that can transform your students into empowered and collaborative 21st Century learners. To learn more about creating an Agile Classrooms and make your students 21st Century ready, please, contact us.
Thank you for reading!
John Miller | Chief Empowerment Officer| Agile Classrooms