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Look Back and Learn


Oh, Fridays. The weekend is almost here and odds are you’ve got a classroom of fidgety students whose minds are drifting off to windows and weekend plans ahead.



How can you use this time with your students beneficially?


One of the best things you can do on a Friday, for yourself and your class, is set aside time to look back on the week. Strengthen and solidify what your students have learned from the past week’s experiences by taking a moment to pause, reflect, and process it all in a fun and structured way. The result is discoveries that students can use to help them be successful in the coming week.


You can do this with an exercise called, Retrospective. In the world of technology teams, ‘Retro’ is a standard practice. Retro is a time when team members come together at the end of the week to reflect on their work, what they learned, and how they can use what they learned to do better in the future.


Do this, and your students will have ready answers when their parent or guardian asks, “What did you learn in school this week?”


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Reflection time helps us all understand the problems and successes we’ve had in the previous week, along with the feelings we experienced. This reflection allows us to see why a problem arose and how it was solved or could be better solved in the future. It allows us to take positive experiences and help them happen more often. This results in solidification of learning and an outlook on the upcoming week that is healthier and more confident.


Retro is centered around four questions:

  • What went well?

  • What could have gone better?

  • What have we learned?

  • How can we turn learning into action?


Answers are recorded or written on a whiteboard by a designated ‘Retro’ leader, and at the end each member of the team comes up with an action-oriented strategy to improve in the future.


Retro has three key characteristics:

  • Collaboration - all team members are present, everyone gets the opportunity to voice his/her opinion

  • Facilitation - meetings are guided, often each team member takes turn conducting meeting

  • Action plan - plan for future improvements is always made after every member has identified roadblocks


The main purpose of a Retro is to identify problems and learn from them. No one is to blame. Everyone’s opinion matters. There are no right or wrong answers. The environment should feel open and honest, yet constructive and easygoing.


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We trust that you can bring your unique teaching style to this exercise. You may already have a Friday ritual you do with your class to prepare everyone for the weekend. Adding a Retrospective to what you already do will help solidify the learnings from the week and help students better understand each other and themselves.