We Must Demonstrate How to Regulate! Part II

In the previous post we learned about the cyclical phases of self-regulated learning.

1. Forethought Phase     2. Performance Phase     3. Self-reflection Phase

Self-Regulation in Elementary Schools (grades 1-5)

Self-regulation varies with students in grades 1-5. Teachers start to expect students to follow expectations, complete multi-step tasks and follow directions that demand more memory control. Expecting so much can make self-regulating difficult.

Elementary students will require supports to successfully negotiate new challenges. Luckily, as teachers we can be the support students need to continue the development of self-regulated learning.

In upper elementary, teachers’ roles are less about helping students learn to control their behaviors/learning and more about overseeing and focusing students’ behaviors, learning and attention so they can meet their goals. Due to influences of social pressure, peers and parents a teachers’ role becomes more challenging. But as educators, we are always up for a challenge!

Here are some strategies to support the development of self-regulated learning:

Forethought Phase: During this phase, students set goals and plan how to complete the learning task.


A. Model how to plan for a learning task. Break it into three planning phases.

1. Setting a goal

2. Determining the strategies needed to reach the goal

3. Decide on needed resources, time and materials to reach goal.

B. Teach students to track progress towards their goal (for example a checklist for completing a writing activity).

C. Celebrate the achievements of attaining goals by focusing in on the effort and strategies used.

Performance Phase: During this phase, students apply their plan, consider what is and isn’t working, decide if help is needed and make adjustments to successfully complete the learning task.


A. Encourage students to ask for help when they cannot complete the task independently. One way to encourage this behavior is to make two lists. One list to support students on knowing the “alerts” to needing help (for example: Alerts could be not knowing how to start a task or they have been working for more than 5 minutes on a problem) and a second list of the “alerts” to use to ask for help (Alerts for help could be raising a hand or holding up a red card/cup). Make these two lists as visual aids.

Help ALL students to know:

When they need help

That others can help

How to ask to get the help they need

Asking for help is okay

Self-Reflection Phase: During this phase, student reflect on the outcomes, what worked and what didn’t work, and what plans would have been a better choice.


The goal with teaching students about self-reflection is to teach them that they do not always need another person to tell them how well the are doing or how well they did.

Portfolios: Collecting, selecting, organizing and reflecting on work engages students in self-regulated reflection.

Self-Reflection Guide: A guide will support students through the process of reflection. To create a guide, write open-ended questions such as: Why is this my best work? What did I learn from completing this learning task? This was hard for me because….


In conclusion, we must remember that self-regulated learning is a process that students can acquire through modeling strategies and building a supportive and academically challenging environment. We must demonstrate to self-regulate!



Germeroth, C. & Day-Hess, C (2013). Self-Regulated Learning for Academic Success. ASCD. Print.


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