Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.
- Soren Kierkegaard
Spring can be a particularly challenging time of the academic year. With testing and IEPs and professional development added on top of the regular curriculum (not to mention squirrely students), it can be hard to keep the big picture in mind. Taking some time at the end of the year to prompt students to reflect on their learning can help show them (and you) the big take-aways from the year. Not only can you find out what students found valuable, you can also see what might not have been prominent (that you wished was) and use this as a formative assessment in your planning for next year.
I'll be honest - here at St. Kate's where I teach preservice and inservice teachers, we love to reflect. We do it all the time. But as the opening quote indicates, the ability to understand our lives (teaching or otherwise) only really comes when we reflect on where we have been. So how can you do this with your P-12 students? Begin by asking students to reflect on what they've learned, how they've grown, and goals for continued learning.
Some blog posts with reflection prompts for students can be found here and here. I found this article from Choice Literacy a thoughtful one in thinking about planning for the end of the school year. And hey, while your students are reflecting, maybe you can do a little reflecting of your own.