I set a goal last year of having my students be more reflective. I have tried several different ways of doing this. I find that having them write helps them focus. However, I do like to let them discuss it with a peer before they start writing. It gives them a chance to hear their thoughts. If I don't let them write, I might miss some of the conversations even if I am on top of my monitoring game at the time. When they write, I can read their thoughts and better understand what they need from me. I also have documentation of what is working and not working. This helps me plan better lessons. Plus, the reflections look good hanging in the hallways with the artwork. (Ask permission to hang these, though. Some students will give you permission and not mind, but some just do not want their personal thoughts on display like that! If you don't ask, and you violate a trust, your students won't deeply reflect anymore. Or, at least, they won't share it with you. I've made this mistake. So, I'm issuing a warning as a kindness!)
So, after trying several different things, I have settled on a few that I like to use over and over. I think having a similar format for a few different types of reflections helps the students. They learn how to reflect in different ways, but also are familiar enough with the formats used in the classroom that they can easily complete them. I think it helps them as they work, too. If they know they are going to complete a reflection, and know there are a couple of types that are used in the class where they are working, they will be thinking about it as they work.
These are only $1 each! Woohoo!