Reflective Writing Assignments



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Reflective Writing Assignments
Reflection is crucial to learning and is a key element of any writing or reading classroom. Throughout the semester, ask students to do many different kinds of reflective assignments, both informal and formal. Encourage students to make conscious their writing, reading, and thinking processes. Doing so can help them learn about their strengths, habits and troubles in writing and reading. A student who reflects on her/his reading learns that reading is a process and that there is more at stake in the text than how it ends. You may also encourage students to learn about their evolving beliefs and desires through reflection. Reflective understanding can lead students to take action. If a student learns through reflection that she tends to get through a writing block by free-writing on a scrap of paper instead of on the computer, she can try to teach herself to use that strategy when she has a block the next time, or if reflection teaches a student that one of his/her values has changed, she can more consciously try to live that change.
While the writer’s notebook can provide a space for reflection on writing, reading, and thinking, here are some suggestions about other kinds of reflection on writing you can ask of your students:
Informal Essay Reflection (see handout in student version of Connections)

Before students turn in a paper, ask them to respond to some or all of the following questions.





  • What surprised you while writing this paper?

  • What confused you while writing this paper?

  • What do you like best about this paper?

  • How did your peer response group help you rethink your essay?

  • What will you revise in the next draft?

This kind of reflection allows students the opportunity to think about the writing of a particular paper and communicate with you some of their thoughts about that process. As a teacher, this kind of reflection helps you understand enter into a conversation with the student about his/her paper when you respond to it.


Reflection on Peer Writing Workshop
Ask your students to respond to the following prompt after a peer workshop.
You shared your writing with other writers, you listened and read as other writers shared their work with you, and you heard feedback related to everyone’s work. Now, write for 10-15 minutes (about a page): reflect on what you have learned about your writing and about yourself as a writer, as a result of reading your work to others, listening to the way others wrote about their experiences, and participating in the discussion that surrounded this process. Hand in to me at the end of class along with a copy of your double entry notes and drafting.
Sample Midterm Reflective Essay
The goal of this 3-4 page paper is for you to reflect on your thinking and writing in this class. The basic aim of reflection is to provide you with an opportunity to consciously think about yourself as a communicator and thinker in particular, focused ways within the specific context of this class.
Write a focused, reflective essay about your work in this class, and in particular your writing, reading, and thinking. Consider your writing process for specific essays as well as the more informal writing you do in groups, in response to readings, and in your writer’s notebook. Consider, too, my comments on your first essay and on your notebook to help you gather some of your thoughts and to help you reflect in detailed ways on your communicating and thinking. One requirement for this assignment is that you write in detail – observe and analyze – about one paper process you’ve gone through in this class. The paper must follow MLA guidelines.
Final Reflective Essay for First Year Composition
The purpose of this final reflective essay is two fold. First, this reflective essay gives you an opportunity to reflect on your thinking, writing, reading, and communicating in this class throughout the entire semester. Second, this reflective essay will serve as the introduction to your portfolio. So, while you will look back over your growth or progress for the semester, you also want to talk very specifically about the choices – in selection and revision – you have made to create your portfolio. Again, the basic aim of reflection is to provide you with an opportunity to consciously think about yourself as a communicator and thinker in particular, focused ways within the specific context of this class. This essay also gives you the chance to communicate those thoughts as a way to represent your work this semester.
So, write a focused, 3-5 page reflective essay about your work in this class. To help you gather some of your thoughts, to help you think about the data you’ll use, and to help you reflect in detailed ways consider the following aspects of the class:





  • Your writing processes for specific essays

  • The more informal writing you do in groups, in response to readings, and in your writer’s notebook

  • Your work in collaborating, reading, and researching

Think back on our conversations in conference and my responses to all your work this semester to help you.




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