Reflection Toolkit

Reflection is a key part of service, and it is important that everyone sits down and processes their experiences. To do this, there is a level of trust that needs to be developed. Make sure people feel comfortable in the circle sharing their ideas and thoughts. As a facilitator it is important to reassure individuals when they make statements but allow dialogue and challenging to take place.

You can chose to go around a circle or “popcorn it out” – If you chose to go around the circle you can be sure every voice is heard, but it puts individuals on the spot. Either method is fine, just be aware of the consequences.

Sentence Stems

For this activity you will use the envelope labeled “sentence stems.” Pass out all of the sentence stems and have people read aloud their sentence stem and have them complete the sentence based on their experiences.

For example:

One thing that surprised me today was… that I didn’t see many people down here helping compared to what I saw on the news.

After they complete the sentence, as the facilitator you can either continue onto the next person or you can ask further questions to get the volunteer to explain more. You may also ask the group if others felt the same way

What – So What – Now What

For this activity, you will facilitate a general discussion. There are three parts to this discussion.

Part I – What

Ask the group what they did, have everyone explain the details of what they did while volunteering. This is great a story, where you can have individuals share a short story of their morning and what they accomplished. The goal of WHAT is to identify what specifically happened.

Part II - So What

Have the group think about “So what did that mean.” What did it mean that we spent a day here? So what did we accomplish. This should be a critical thought stage. This stage may result in some conflicts where volunteers feel like they accomplished nothing while other volunteers feel like they accomplished a great deal.

Part III – Now What

This last part is the most difficult because it requires individuals to think about what will they do now after their experience. Service does not stop after volunteering. What will individuals do differently, how will they view Springfield afterwards. It is okay for volunteers to feel hopeless during this conversation.

Submit Your Reflection to Missouri State's Quality Initiative Project (QIP)

After your reflection process, please consider recording their reflections and submitting them for inclusion in Missouri State University’s ongoing Quality Initiative Project (QIP). The goal of the QIP is to collect evidence of student learning related to our mission in public affairs so we may better tell our story. Volunteer experiences are a natural fit for the QIP, and faculty and staff who have been involved in this project strongly agree that opportunities to reflect are vital in helping students understand the personal and civic value of volunteering.

To participate in the QIP, simply record your reflections on paper, or have someone take notes during your reflection discussions. These records may be kept anonymous. You could also make video or audio recordings of these reflections if students grant permission to share their identities. Once you have collected these reflections, submit them to the Office of Assessment at, or call 417-836-6300 to discuss other ways you can share this rich evidence of learning.