Before checking in with students for the first time, it is important to remember that reflection is a skill that takes time and practice to develop. We can not make assumptions that students’ capacity to critically engage with their learning improves with age. Nor can we assume that when presented with a series of prompts on a check-in form, students will know how to apply their thinking to the task in a manner that supports them in sharing what they have learned, what they need to improve, or selecting strategies that they believe would move their learning forward.
As teachers, we can help our students learn to reflect by providing them with frequent and purposeful opportunities to do so. Reflection should not be something that students only do once in a while. It should be seen as a valuable and regular part of the learning process.
The following video was filmed in a series of classrooms where students were using Verso Check-in for the first time. The students were given an introduction to the process and how each question required them to think and respond. The teacher introduction was designed to help students who were new to the process to avoid some common pitfalls. Specifically, students were asked to be precise and thoughtful. They were given possible sentence starters such as “I learned that…”, and reminded of the difference between sharing what they did as opposed to sharing what they had learned in the lesson. Finally, you will see that students were asked to use evidence to support their self-assessment and to be specific when seeking support from the teacher.