Ongoing In-Class Reflection Strategies

Build in multiple opportunities and modes for reflection throughout the lesson to support student learning, engagement, and growth.

Ongoing In-Class Reflection Strategies
  • Teaching
  • Wrapping Up & Reflecting
  • Practical Tips & Accommodations

Ongoing In-Class Reflection Strategies


Mix up the groupings for reflection. Invite students to reflect individually, in pairs, small groups, and as a class.


Use a “What? So what? Now what?” structure to encourage students to think about what they did, why they did it, and what they can do next.


Incorporate moments for quick reflection throughout every lesson, and times for more in-depth reflection periodically over the course of your entire class and residency.

Learning Cycle

Building in opportunities for reflection throughout the lesson, and incorporating multiple modes of reflection, can support student learning, engagement, and growth.

  • There is an experience (in the form of an activity/lesson) in the classroom. Now you can question the students: “What happened? What did we do?”
  • Reflect on the experience to review and evaluate what happened. For example, students ask themselves, “What did I experience?”
  • Generalize and ask, “Why did this happen?”
  • Apply through active experimentation. “Consider, what will you do? What will taking action look like?”
A circular flow chart with arrows pointing from Experience to Reflect to Generalize to Apply

Remote Teaching and Learning Tip

You can create breakout rooms for small-group reflection on some digital platforms. It may be a good idea to plan out the breakout rooms (the amount or who’s in each room) in advance if you need to have supervision from a Classroom Professional in each breakout room, or need a Classroom Professional to make the breakout rooms.

Ask a series of “Yes/No” or “True/False” questions. Each student will answer accordingly with a thumbs up indicating “True” or “Yes,” or thumbs down for “False” or “No.” Ask students to elaborate on their answers.

Get your students reflecting on their feet. Place answer signs in each corner of the room (e.g., “Yes,” “No,” “True,” “False,” “I’m not sure”). As you ask questions, students will move to the corner that matches their answers. Ask students to elaborate on their answers.

Ask students to respond to a reflection question as if it were a 140-character tweet. Hashtags and @’s encouraged!

Students can work on their own or as a group to create a tableau or tableaux sequence that responds to a specific prompt. Students should also be prepared to share a caption for their image with hashtags.

Each student gets a piece of paper. Students will have two to five minutes to respond to your reflection question(s) in writing or drawing. Then yell, “3, 2, 1 snowball!” and students will throw their snowballs across the room. Each student will pick up an anonymous snowball and read it aloud to the class.

Post chart paper up around the room and ask either an educator or student to scribe. Ask students to “popcorn” out responses and/or words. You can also post chart paper throughout the room with different questions/prompts and allow students to move freely around and write or draw their responses to the questions/prompts, directly on the papers or using Post-it notes.

Ask students to pick three words to describe how they feel after an activity. Then ask students to make poses to represent each emotion they chose, and string them together so that they become a dance or continuous gesture. Ask students to find a partner to share with. Students can teach one another their moves or make a new sequence combining their gestures.

Students can keep reflection journals and as a ritual following an activity, students can write or draw about their experience. You can keep this open-ended or use reflection prompts.

Remote Teaching and Learning Tip

You can use a tool, such as Poll Everywhere, Padlet, Mentimeter, etc. to create an interactive, real-time generator of a word cloud for students.

Remote Teaching and Learning Tip

You can take advantage of your class chat as an ongoing reflection strategy, using emojis, one-word reflections, etc. Another possibility is to incorporate polls (interactive Google Forms/Zoom polls, third-party interactive forms like Padlet/Poll Everywhere, and more basic “show of hands”) to utilize the digital tools as part of your reflection strategies for a synchronous remote class. You can also bring in other nonverbal reflection responses using reaction buttons, thumbs up/down, etc.

External Resources