Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Pondering Portfolios

Pondering Portfolios

Can portfolios help with growth mind set?

I recently read the book, "The Leader In Me". It brought up so many excellent points. Since I teach the grade 8's in my building I often am thinking of ways to motivate them, connect them with their own learning and inspiring them to be a leader. If you haven't had a chance, to take a glance at it here:  
The book is inspired by The Seven Habits. I also read the Seven Habit for Healthy Teens and Kids.


One of the ideas in the book is for students to keep track of their own data. The idea behind it is when student's are keeping track of their own data they can visually see how they are progressing. 
I truly am intrigued by this.

Currently I do portfolios in my room. I know the big buzz word is digital portfolios, but I have two computers in my room that are very slow and access to the computer lab on average once a week. (sometimes less). Creating a digital portfolio at the moment is a "dream". I would love to try in the future. 

For now I am toying with the idea of how to effectively use portfolios. 

I will let you in on a secret. Come in real close.....closer still. It is something I am a bit ashamed to admit.

Portfolios are not used effectively in my room. 

Where are they? 

They sit in a plain old manila file folder at the bottom of my filing cabinet. Students do not have access to them except right before teacher conferences. (YIKES). How effective are they there? NOPE.

What do they currently hold?

Inside of them the students have chosen their own pieces of work to go in the folder. They have chosen the work the day before student lead conferences.

The idea I have been pondering in my mind is how to use portfolios effectively to show growth. These are some of the thoughts I have been tossing around in my mind:

  1. What if they had access to some of their data? I don't grade every single individual piece of work so giving them all data wouldn't be possible. Perhaps a pre-test, mid and final test. For example in math. Pre, quiz, quiz, test.
  2. What if they build their own goals for in their portfolio?  I know, I know I think I do goals...but more specific goals. More targeted to what we are currently working on. For example if we start a unit on fractions the student could be more reflective after the pre assessment to set a goal for themselves.
  3. Would I include reading levels? We now are starting to use BAS assessment in our board. The nice thing about this is that it goes all the way to grade eight. Could I do that? Give them their own reading level to improve on? I mean, I would want to know if you tested my reading level what my score is and I would want to improve it. Wouldn't my grade eights? 
  4. Where should they be? Should students hang on to them in their desks? Should they be in an accessible spot in the room? Should they be kept on their desks? I want the students to have access a lot. I want them to be able to look at their goals and see that they are improving. I would like them to see the big picture as well in their own learning. 

I am still throwing some ideas around. I really have been thinking about how portfolios would be so beneficial. Especially to help with "growth mindset". (A BUZZ WORD) 

What are your thoughts on portfolios?
 Do you use them? Do you think they are effective? What resources do you use? 

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