ELA Semester Portfolio:
Compiling amazing resources from education blogs I follow on Tumblr, my students and I had one-on-one 5-minute conferences to reflect on their work and progress this semester.
This is the perfect pre-winter break assignment because it provides space for my students to evaluate and reflect on the semester — it allows a purposeful pause from our daily lessons.
Also, I haven’t had poor behavior this week (Surprise! Early holiday gift). When the objective of an assignment is to prepare for a meeting in which they are making a semester grade recommendation to me, behavior is pretty good in class.
During the individual in-class conferences, the rest of my class either read newspapers or worked on TeenBiz3000 as they waited to be called.
What I was really impressed by is how accurately they rated behavior and the amount of critical self-reflection — I feel like my students have become extremely self-aware in my class, which makes my job a lot easier as a teacher.
And I’m extremely proud.
- Allowing students to reflect on strengths gives them something of which to be proud.
- The portfolio gives me the much-needed “check in” time with my students to acknowledge progress I see. Especially in a middle school setting, affirmation and acknowledgement is so important. Students sometimes just want to know that the teacher notices.
- Individual conferences allows me and the student pick an area to work on next semester (we’ll revisit this activity to start off quarter 3) — for instance, where did they give themselves a “3” rating instead of “5.” Together, we figure out what can we do to at least bring it up to a “4” next quarter. The conversation allows my students to identify an area that needs improvement brain storm concrete ways to improve; we create a SMART goals during the meeting.
- This project also makes submitting semester grades a lot easier on me: I have the grade breakdown compiled with individual reflections and meeting notes from our conversation. And if parents have an issue with me rounding up or down on a grade, I can easily bring out these portfolios and justify the grade, as needed.
- Finally, it is such a good feeling to see students write, “I never knew I was good at writing until this class.”
Click on portfolio image links at top to enlarge.
Teachers on Tumblr, please feel free to message me if you’d like me to email you the word document!
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