Giving your ensemble a voice with a simple reflection assignment to culminate the school year.
I’m a big fan of the reflection process. I love stepping back and reviewing a concert, lesson, event, or decision and see what worked and what can be improved upon. I have even incorporated a Weekly Reflection component to my Bullet Journal to note the events of the week and record general thoughts, feelings, and ideas. (Side note: I’m still super obsessed with my bullet journal. It is changing my world…more to say on that another time!).
At the end of my first year of teaching, I asked students to comment on the various elements of our choral program in an assignment I titled, “Letter to Brazell.” Students were expected to write me a formal letter, responding to prompts given to them on a guide sheet that gave them specific aspects to reflect on, such as repertoire, leadership positions, performances, discipline structure, room set-up, and instructional material. I have found that when I ask students to freely reflect or respond, it is typically free of response. 🙂 Here is the document for your perusal, and feel free to adapt it as you like: Letter to Brazell
What I Learned:
First, and most obviously, I learned that my students have an opinion on everything but they may not ever share unless you ask. There were times when I didn’t think something mattered, and then several students commented in favor or against it with real purpose behind their feelings. Sometimes I forget what it’s like to think like a teenager, and a lot of times their perspective is important in the decisions we have to make each day. From the simplest room layout to the more complicated disciplinary policies, they may have an idea you have yet to discover.
How I Use These Letters:
I have all the letters from my students since I started teaching. I have molded the way our leadership roles function and even renamed titles to make them more reflective of their jobs. I have used their letters to guide the next year’s instruction. And of course, I re-read them for fun. They really write sweet things, or some of them remind you of the ridiculous things you have said that year. Value in both the practical and entertainment.
If there is still time, try this assignment with your students! It provides a world of insight and it’s a great keepsake!
What concluding activities do you do with your classes? Leave a comment below, or continue the conversation on Twitter @LindsayBrazell.
Photo Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/verybadlady/