Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Creating and Sharing Showcase Portfolios

Students are using their showcase portfolios to present their best efforts and reflections to parents during the mid-year conference period. As I listen to students present, there is so much that I truly appreciate about the showcase portfolio process.

First, the showcase portfolio provides a great vehicle for student reflection. From time to time students top to think about their learning and write related reflections that often include examples and images of the specific learning experiences, projects, or assignments.

Next, the portfolio is a great vehicle for telling your story. Students are able to lead the conference by using their portfolio as a vehicle of share and organization.

Finally, the showcase portfolio becomes a keepsake of the year's learning, a book to refer to as a child continues to learn and think about the direction where his or her learning is leading.

To create a meaningful and useful showcase portfolio, it's important to think about the actions it takes from the start of the year. A good portfolio profits from the following:
  • Initial set up of cover, title page, dividers, and initial assessments
  • A chance to gather images or examples of signature work and then time to thoughtfully write about the related value, thoughts, and response to specific learning experiences, events, and efforts in timely ways.
  • Teacher comments and feedback.
  • Student letters to family members and teachers who support their learning.
To best incorporate the showcase portfolio work throughout the year, signature learning assignments should include a start-to-finish "story" in the portfolio. Essentially the showcase portfolio should tell the tale of where a child started with a specific learning goal, how he/she met the goal, and final reflections. 

In the best case scenarios, children have a lot of choice with regard to their learning as well as with the way they display and discuss their learning. The more that students own the learning process and showcase portfolio reflection and creation, the better they will learn and experience what it means to be a successful learner.