Reflection and Goal Setting within the IB PYP

Reflection & Goal Setting in the PYP Classroom

Its that time of year again……

Just last week my daughter asked me what my New Year’s resolution would be. Before answering, I cynically thought about how I’ll swear to exercise more, eat less and lose the same 10 lbs I’ve been losing and gaining for the past ten years. I chickened out in my response, ” I haven’t really thought about it yet.” But really, isn’t it good to reflect upon where we are and set goals for where we would like to be? I mean we do it in the classroom very frequently.


Awards certificates for the PYP found here.



Reflecting within the PYP.

Every six weeks we reflect upon our learning within the IB Primary Years Programme. We focus on the Learner Profile trait of being reflective and look back at the central idea and how our understanding has change. We think upon the key concepts covered and contemplate our learning through those concepts. And, of course, the transdisciplinary skills are contemplated and we consider which skills we have improved with and those which still require work. That’s a lot of reflection for our kiddos and the danger I have found is that it can become monotonous, routine and therefore not really meaningful for the kids. Just the same old, same old on the same old piece of paper stuffed into our portfolios until the following six weeks.

Making Reflection Meaningful and Differentiated

With the thought of differentiation looming large ( as our school wide focus), I thought about the rigmarole of reflecting and how it was seriously lacking authenticity. So, in order to help my kiddos who struggled with writing, I created a selection of easy to complete and fun to think about reflection sheets. These began with the simple task of creating a cartoon to show their learning. This was received with far more enthusiasm than the usual reflection sheets. And, some of the more able kids even wanted to use them. Thus the Goal Setting and Reflection packet was born. I went home and thought about how I wanted the kids to be able to choose their own reflection format. It is after all a very personal moment when we are asked to reflect. I wanted to ensure that the important details were considered ( concepts, central idea, profile, skills, attitudes) and then scaffolded the sheets accordingly to suit the different needs within my classroom.

What is Refection?

My fifth graders and I spent some time prior to the end of unit, thinking about what it really means to reflect.

        We used the idea of concept maps to look back at the new knowledge that we had gained over the course of the unit of inquiry.


  • We studied our inquiry bank and wrote down questions that arose from our original questions.
  • We flipped through our working binders and notebooks and highlighted the learning that showed we had used certain transdisciplinary skills and Learner Profile traits, making notes by those highlighted pages.
  • We then went back to the central idea and, in our small groups, we broke it down to fit in with the concepts we had studied and wrote a group statement as to what it NOW meant to us and our knowledge now.
After all of that ( which took us about a week), I introduced the new planners for our unit reflection, I selected 3-4
different formats and then allowed the students to pick their



own sheet for reflecting

The children were told to spend at least ten minutes remembering what we discussed about the skill of reflecting and to take the full 40 minutes given, to complete their unit reflection. You could have heard a pin drop! The entire class was engaged in flipping through past notes and activities, silently thinking about their learning and creating a meaningful and authentic piece of work that truly showed their thinking and perspective of their own learning. Voila! Success!



You can find a free copy of my Learner Profile refection sheet here in my TpT store. If you wish, you can also look at the simple Print and Go packet I created for my class here. There is an editable version too.( This editable option was created with Microsoft Powerpoint 2007 and may need simple  re-formatted if you have other versions.)  


Anyway, off I now go to reflect upon my year and plan my goals for the New Year! Hmmm… go to the gym 3 x week, eat less sugar, drink more water….. 🙂




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