You might have noticed that I mentioned Planning and Reflection Journals last week. We introduced these slowly, beginning the 3rd week of January. In fact, my giant version was probably spotted hanging from the front door on the mornings of the first few days. For three days, I wrote my plans for the morning in my journal and shared it with the class. I wanted to make sure that the children were familiar with our expectations before they began their own process. I also shared my reflections at the end of each day during this “intro” period.
Last week, the children began being responsible for their own Planning and Reflection Journals. We have woven the activity into the regular routine of the day. After the children complete the Morning Message and choose a center to play in, they saunter over to the table to record their plans for the morning. Either Mrs. Pless or I are sitting with them to provide support as needed. We expect each child to take their time, draw a picture depicting their plans, and use kid-writing to explain their picture.
The first few entries were predictably lacking detail. For instance, many wanted to write, “play with blocks”. We encouraged each child to focus a bit more on the actual goal they hoped to achieve or story they envisioned telling with their play. With more experience, we are beginning to see much more thoughtful planning and play emerging.
We are also using the same journals to reflect on something that we accomplished today. In the past, this was an activity we did orally. You might have heard the chant, “What did you do today? What did you do in Pre-K?” Some of the children use this opportunity to expand on the same topic they wrote about in the morning. Other children write about unrelated activities. Either way, we are asking the children to focus on their memories of the day and present us with one coherent image. Although we sometimes hear fantastical stories (“Today, my dad was the Hulk and he beat up all of the bad guys.”), this is good practice for reflection. With practice, we hope to see more detailed, intricate plans and accurate memory recall.