School Zone SignCrool Zone - a WebQuest Series on creating non-violent schools

Insight Reflector
on School Safety Issues

Introduction · Opening Occasion · Abstraction
Second Reflection · Universal · Conclusion · Rubric · Guide

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What's the meaning of life? Why is beauty in the eye of the beholder? Is meat murder? These are the kinds of questions that ask people to look beneath the surface of everyday thinking. This kind of deeper thinking is called reflecting or introspection (looking within). The purpose of the following activity is to get you to reflect on the topic of School Safety. But instead of just asking you to begin reflecting, we've found that the Internet has something to say on the subject. You'll use the Web to get your mind wrapped around the topic. Then you'll be given hints and ideas to help you extend your reflection. If you want an idea on how the quality of reflection can be assessed, read this evaluation rubric. But most of all, follow the twists and turns of your thinking.

The Opening Occasion

The world around us often sends a wake up call. Sometimes this is in the form of a new idea or powerful emotion. Use the Web to explore the topic of School Safety, looking for something that calls to you personally. When you find it, write a solid paragraph that describes the scene, example, information, image, or whatever related to the topic that was most powerful to you.

Day of Terror Story Archive
Listing of articles from September 11, 2001

World Trade Center Attack
by George Weld

World Trade Center Memorial photos
by Jennifer Tracy

Highlighting the Abstraction

Looking more deeply at the description you just wrote, find the abstract idea that is at the heart of your reflection. In other words, what Big Idea, Truth of Emotion are you really writing about. Examples include things like 'happiness,' 'honesty,' 'equality,' 'love,' and 'friendship.' Write a short paragraph that explains and highlights an abstraction you want to draw out of your opening occasion.

The Second Reflection

Not everything is as we first think. The important ideas, themes and emotions that play through what we call the Human Condition are complex and subtle. Try looking at an opposite view of the abstraction you've been reflecting on. Once you can see (perhaps through the Web) how this topic can be viewed differently, write another healthy paragraph that explores this different 'truth.'

Sage, Ink
Cartoon from The Atlantic on teen cliques & terrorists

Columbine Jocks Safely Resume Bullying
lampoon article from The Onion

Dissecting Columbine's Cult of the Athlete
from the Washington Post

Finding a Universal Truth

You began describing one example of School Safety and went on to pull out one abstract idea or emotion to focus on. Further reflection showed how truths can sometimes look different than we might expect. Now comes the time to look at the big picture and share what you believe is the universal truth, the one that's most always true. Keep the deep thinking going and avoid the temptation to come up with a quick and easy answer. These are hardly ever accurate. Write out your ideas in a short paragraph.


At the beginning of this activity, you were invited to look at an evaluation rubric and told to follow the twists and turns of your thinking. You've done this by looking closely at an important aspect of the human condition. But reflection works best when the writer also looks at his or her own thought processes. We're not so interested in the 'answer' you came up with as seeing how your mind worked through the process. In the final paragraph, show us the highlights of what went on in your mind that guided your reflection. At what points did the lights go on? When did it seem confusing? What led your to your final universal truth?

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Launched April 2002. Revised February, 2005.
By Tom March, tom at ozline dot com
Applications Design Team/Wired Learning