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A Teacher’s Reflective Impact Journal: McREL’s newest publication helps educators self-reflect on their professional practices

By May 1, 2020No Comments

May 4, 2020 | Denver, CO—Self-reflection is one of the most powerful habits teachers can develop to hone their instructional skills and expertise. To help teachers access the benefits of this highly personal form of professional development, McREL is pleased to introduce A Teacher’s Reflective Impact Journal: Pursuing Greatness Every Day. It’s a guided 144-page journal that lets teachers chronicle which classroom practices are going great, which could stand some improvement, and how they’re growing and changing along the way.

“Educators want to continually grow as professionals, and research supports the notion that journaling speeds up and reinforces this process,” said co-author Pete Hall. “It helps us synthesize and clarify our thoughts, it fosters our creativity and curiosity, and it’s a truly personalized means of professional learning growth.”

While many teachers already practice journaling, A Teacher’s Reflective Impact Journal adds weekly themes, guidance, and writing prompts that are crafted to help educators develop new habits of thinking. In repeated succession, journalers will progress through these themes:

  • WOW weeks: Something went well in your teaching this week (it did!). Let’s celebrate it, and then think about why it’s important to you and how you can replicate it.
  • YIKES weeks: Mistakes happen. Turn your mistakes into powerful learning opportunities using the reflective process and plan for a positive outcome next time.
  • GOAL weeks: Identify a particular outcome you want to achieve—such as a skill you’d like to master or a structure you’d like to implement—and plan how you’re going to achieve it.
  • QUESTION weeks: What do you need to know about your students, your professional responsibilities, or education in general?
  • TACKLE A FEAR weeks: Is something holding you back? Confront it and watch your capacity for success increase.

Throughout each week, co-authors Mary Smith, Pete Hall, and Alisa Simeral remind teachers to use the Reflective Cycle to guide their thinking, experimentation, and analysis—a concept that Hall and Simeral have explored in several prior books, including Pursuing Greatness: Empowering Teachers to Take Charge of Their Professional Growth (2019, McREL), Creating a Culture of Reflective Practice: Capacity-Building for Schoolwide Success (2017, ASCD), and Teach, Reflect, Learn: Building Your Capacity for Success in the Classroom (2015, ASCD).

A Teacher’s Reflective Impact Journal is available now from McREL’s online store, Bulk volume discounts are available for schoolwide and districtwide purchases; purchase orders can be sent to

About the authors

Mary Smith is a former teacher and curriculum specialist who now speaks, coaches, and writes about ways teachers and school leaders can amplify their roles as educators. She is the founder of Education Leadership Consultants based in Houston, Texas. Learn more at

Pete Hall is a former teacher and principal who now provides professional development for educators through his writing and speaking engagements. He is the co-author of Relationship, Responsibility, and Regulation: Trauma-Invested Practices for Fostering Resilient Learners (2018, ASCD), The Principal Influence: A Framework for Developing Leadership Capacity in Principals (2015, ASCD), and Fostering Resilient Learners: Strategies for Creating a Trauma-Sensitive Classroom (2016, ASCD), among others. Learn more at and follow Pete on Twitter at @EducationHall.

Alisa Simeral is a former teacher and instructional coach who now travels the globe supporting the growth of educators at all levels. In addition to the books named above, she is the co-author of The Principal Influence: A Framework for Developing Leadership Capacity in Principals (2015, ASCD) and Building Teachers’ Capacity for Success: A Collaborative Approach for Coaches and School Leaders (2008, ASCD). Learn more at and follow Alisa on Twitter at @AlisaSimeral.

For more information

For more information about the journal and the authors, please visit
For more information about McREL, please visit or contact Roger Fiedler, senior director of marketing, at 303.632.5579 or


McREL is a non-profit, non-partisan education research and development organization that since 1966 has turned knowledge about what works in education into practical, effective guidance and training for teachers and education leaders across the U.S. and around the world.