Kids need time to stop and reflect on what they are doing and how they are feeling.When we provide students with opportunities to think about their own thinking, we empower them to take charge of their own learning. Reflecting on their own progress increases students' executive function and critical thinking skills.

If you want to raise independent and self-directed learners, consider building in some of these reflective activities throughout your day.

Daily Reflective Routines

  • I Used to Think...But Now I Think - children focus on how and why their thinking has changed over time. Have them explain their initial thoughts, and then prompt them to think about why their thinking has shifted.

  • 3-2-1 Bridge - 3 thoughts, 2 questions and 1 connection to engage students in deeper thinking.

  • Self-checks - throughout their work, students should be assessing themselves regularly through rubrics, checklists, writing prompts or sharing their progress verbally.

  • Cause and Effect - organizers that will promote students to think about the connections between events.

  • Sticky Notes - a great way to make thinking visible. Ask children to write down what went well, what didn’t and/or what they can do differently tomorrow. Children can also use these notes to mark any questions they have during activities.

Gratitude Journals

One way to cultivate an environment of gratitude and positivity is by having students create and keep a gratitude journal (Sulla 2018). Increasing awareness of gratitude and expressing appreciation are great ways to foster social and emotional learning. Gratitude is an emotion that stems from happiness and appreciation. Studies have shown that feeling gratitude activates the prefrontal cortex which reduces stress levels and builds executive function and benefits students’ well-being. Use the guiding steps in this resource to implement gratitude journals in your home.