Seeing Portfolios as a personal space of learning


“Can I just put anything I want into my Evernote portfolio,” asked one of my students this week after she was trained in the process of uploading work. There was an excitement in her voice and I knew that she already had developed a connection to the idea of storing her work.

We have just spent the last week preparing for student led conferences that use Evernote as a central tool. When the kids sit down with their parents and me to share the work they have been doing, their portfolio will be open and the vehicle for the conversation. They have each chosen at least 3 artifacts to include. (One piece that demonstrates their work in the area of literacy, one that demonstrates their work in mathematics and one of their own choosing). The process of preparing this group of 23 kids for the conference has been amazingly stress free. Partially because they know their is an authentic audience and they are leading the show, AND because the process of recording and reflecting on their work was actually enjoyable when Evernote was built into it.

That isn’t to say that having the students write reflection is easy. For some kids it is a real challenge. It is one thing to put things into the portfolio, it is quite another to really move to the next step, which is reflection. Helping students to think deeply about their work is an ongoing challenge. Last year we created a submission form that used a checklist. (See “old” Trillium Portfolio sheet below). This was helpful for kids who struggled with writing, but it didn’t give the opportunity to think and write a little more deeply about their work. This years submission sheet, while not quite perfect yet, was a step to simplify the sheet itself, but give more opportunity for kids to write about the process, what they learned, who they worked with and why they think it is “ready”.

The submission sheet isn’t necessary for all the work that kids do AND it could be added a week or even a month after kids upload a piece into Evernote. However, through out the year there will many many more formalized opportunities to reflect on their work, and not simple put things into the portfolio.

However, when all is said and done, I want kids to see their portfolios as a place to really keep their learning, think about their learning and share their learning. It is a tool that they can easily access and use to share who they are as a learning today, and for a lifetime.

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