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Student Math Reflection Activities That Deepen Understanding

There are 4 essential components that make up a meaningful math block. Let’s focus on the last one, student math reflection.

Even though this seems simple enough, this was the area where I struggled.

Have you ever been so focused on the other parts of your lesson that you forget to give your students time to reflect on what they learned? That was me.

Until I thought back on my own personal experiences, I don’t think I understood the power of student reflection at the time. However, I knew how it felt to be rushed through a new PD or training without being given time to think about what I learned, so why was I doing the same thing to my students?

After I had that realization, I searched for quick and effective ways to close my lessons with a reflection.

I knew this was a critical component to an effective lesson cycle, but I just couldn’t figure out everything I needed to make it happen.

In my search for the “perfect” way to get students to reflect, I asked myself these two questions:

  • How can I gauge what my students understood from the lesson I taught?
  • How can I give my students time to reflect in a short period of time?

So, let me share 3 easy ways to implement student math reflection activities in your classroom:

Activity #1: Two Sentence Wrap Up

What Is It? 

A 2 sentence wrap-up is a quick and insightful way to close a lesson. After a lesson, students write two sentences that summarize what they learned. The sentences should:

Sentence 1: Tell what the student learned

Sentence 2: Share an example of the learning

How Does It Work? 

The sentences can be recorded in student journals or on a piece of paper. If you’re working with younger students, you can have them draw a picture and label it.

Teaching Tip: 

Sentence frames are helpful tools because they provide a scaffold for writing. Display the following sentence frames on your board:

Today I learned ____.

A ____ is an example of a ____ because ____.


Activity #2: Traffic Light or Thermostat

What Is It? 

Images like a thermostat or a traffic light can give your students a visual to help them express how much they understand.

Traffic Light: An image of a traffic light with the 3 circles( red, yellow, and green)

Thermostat: An image of a thermostat set at 3 levels (high. medium, and low)

How Does It Work? 

After your lesson, students circle or color the image that best describes how well they feel they understood the lesson. They can even write a sentence or two to provide more details.


Activity #3: Clear and Cloudy

What Is It? 

Clear or Cloudy is a reflection activity where children communicate what is clear (what they understand) and what is cloudy (what they’re having trouble understanding). This is a very simple way to get students to reflect on their learning.

How Does It Work? 

At the end of your lesson, give each student a “Clear or Cloudy” sheet. Ask them to record one thing that was clear and one thing that was cloudy. After students complete their sheets, collect and review their responses to inform further instruction.


Easily Add Math Reflection Time into Your Instruction

Give your students time to step back and think about what they learned. This will allow them the opportunity to identify what they did well, decide what they found interesting, and pinpoint where they need more support.

Grab my Math Student Reflections and get your students to start reflecting on their learning now!

Want Your Students to Start Reflecting in Your Classroom? Get My FREE Student Math Reflections!

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