For many of you, now is the time you wrap up the school year. It's important to take a close look at all the kids have accomplished and all that you've taught them.
A school portfolio is a perfect closing project for that. It’s hands on, timely, and creative.
Not only that, but your kids get to practice their critical thinking skills while you get to start planning for the next school year.
What's A School Portfolio?
It’s a scrapbook made up of your kids’ most successful school work during the year. It can be digital or not, and the display can take whatever form you like. That’s up to you and the kids.
Here's how to get started.
As the teacher, set a few parameters to structure the project for your kids, but within that structure, let them make their own choices! Giving kids choice and control is key to any successful project.
Make sure you set some boundaries so that this project doesn't take forever to finish. You decide how many pieces and what subjects should be included.
The portfolio making process includes four steps.
1) Collect a lot of pieces that could be included in the portfolio. Have kids collect as many pieces as they like from the entire school year, but give them a time limit for doing so. Decide if there should be something from every subject, or only things from their core curriculum subjects, like math, science, reading, and or history.
While they do this, look over their work with them when you can. Take note of what skills they've mastered and where they'll need more review next year. This helps you with your planning for the next year.
2) Select which pieces to include in the final portfolio. Give kids criteria for choosing the final pieces. Which ones best demonstrate the skills they learned? Which demonstrate major challenges overcome or improvements made? Which are their favorites? You set some criteria, and you can allow kids to set a few as well. Take some time with this step. Setting criteria activates and uses their critical thinking skills.
3) Reflect on the final choices. This can include both critical thinking and writing. For each item chosen for the portfolio, students must share a short explanation to explain how the piece met your criteria. This can be shared with you verbally, or if you'd like them to practice their writing, they can add written captions.
4) Design the layout and presentation of the entire the portfolio. Let the kids’ be as creative as they like! The only structure recommended in this step is to make sure it’s a design that can be completed within a reasonable amount of time and that all the portfolio pieces are clearly displayed.
Have you tried one of these projects before? Tell me how it worked for you in the comments below. Thanks!