The PREPARE team met last week, and there is so much interesting work happening through this group. From community service, to collaboration between CTE and Math to infuse coding in geometry, to external mentorships for our Nano students, when you listen to this group talk, it makes you proud to be a Wheeling Wildcat!
While these projects are big entities that may not really impact our day-to-day instruction, there is a group of teachers on this team focused on exploring Redefining Ready! One thing this team is discussing is the use of student portfolios to document growth.
For example, our art teachers are experimenting with using student portfolios as a way for students to showcase different artistic skills they are working on developing in any given art class. For instance, Rebeccah Silver’s students have to show proficiency in “shading”. But, it doesn’t really matter if they master shading on 8/28, or 9/13, or 10/25, or whenever “X” assignment is due. It just matters that they show mastery by the end of her term. So, she is having her students create portfolios, aligned to skills, to show mastery of each skill. No longer is the learning fixed by the teacher’s timeline or assignment schedule. The student can choose any assignment at any time to show mastery of the given skill.
By creating this student portfolio system, the time is flexible, the skill-objectives are clear, and the onus to prove mastery of each skill is on the student, not the teacher.
In reflecting on this, I am wondering how many of us could apply this portfolio system Rebeccah described to our own classrooms? I think, as we have spent so much time documenting our essential skills over the last 6 months, that many of us could take this same concept and exchange our own content area skills to make it work for our own classes.
But, why would we want to do that?
I think the major argument to use portfolios is because it really gets kids thinking about their own learning. My daughter is in second grade, and I have attended 2 “portfolio nights” in my short time as a parent of an elementary school child. At both of these occasions, my 5/6 year old was able to articulate to me exactly where she was in her own learning path. While we may not have portfolio night at WHS, the idea of my students knowing about their own learning, or metacognition, is still valuable to me as a teacher.
If you are interested in trying out portfolios in your classrooms, you may want to think about:
- Using “portfolios” in Schoology (use the browser, not the app)
- Use Seesaw, the free app we introduced at our April 4th Inservice day last year . We do have a pilot of this going on in AVID right now, and it seems to be working well!
- Having your students create a blog, like this one (wordpress), or a google site to show their learning
- Even organizing files in a shared google drive could function as a portfolio (just with less bells and whistles)
- Make good-old-fashioned portfolios out of BINDERS and DIVIDERS! Many kids in AVID are used to doing this every. single. day.
If you are interested in learning more about student portfolios, here are some additional resources:
If you are using student portfolios in your class, share your process with us!
If you want to talk more about how you could use student portfolios in your own class, set up a meeting with me! I would love to work with you on this project!
Thanks for reading!