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Promptastic: Discovery and Reflection in Student Writing

Your students are looking out the window at the beautiful sunshine that May brings. Summer vacation is on their mind and keeping their attention this time of year is rough.

We’ve gathered some ideas to keep them intrigued and give them the chance to reflect on this past school year. As you know, reflection ensures that what students have learned will make a lasting impact. It also shows them that, through writing, they may discover more about themselves and the world around them.

With Mistakes Were Made, students can narrate a moment in the past school year that may have been painful, but still gave them the opportunity to grow. Before going over the prompt, you may want to prime your students for thinking about mistakes in a positive light by going over some of the big mistakes in history that have led to amazing discoveries or products. Take a look at this article about scientific serendipity or this story about brilliant blunders.

You may also want to give students the opportunity to free-write in order to further instill the act of reflection in this sequence of activities. Free writing can be as free as simply letting them think on the concept of “mistake,” to getting them to brainstorm their recent mistakes, to giving them a template to fill in (One mistake that had a big impact this year was _____________. One thing I can learn from this is ________________.). When they freewrite, encourage them to keep writing, no matter what pops into their heads. Some type of discovery will occur if they give it a chance.

Once you and your students have discussed and brainstormed together, they are ready to use Revision Assistant to help them sharpen their narrative on learning from a mistake.

Another great way to encourage students to reflect on this past year is assigning our prompt, Expect the Unexpected. Ask students to think back on this past year and discover some things they’ve experienced that perhaps they didn’t expect to learn from. One way to get the ball rolling is to go over this interesting article from The Times.

Finally, use a narrative assignment to remind students that their learning can really only come from asking questions. With Question Everything, students can reflect on a moment in which they chose to stay quiet or chose to ask that burning question. Spark your students’ interest with this article or this article about asking hard questions.

With questions, we invite discoveries—invite your students to make discoveries about this past year with these prompts in Turnitin Revision Assistant. They’ll also get some great feedback to improve their writing.

Related Links:
AP Prompts in Revision Assistant
Civil Service Prompts in Revision Assistant