Using Portfolios for Student Led Conferences.


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This week my students had their conferences with their parents where they shared examples of work they had been doing during the year and planned goals for the next several months. Given adequate time to prepare and practice how they will present their work the student led conference is a great tool for students to demonstrate what they have been learning and plan their learning for the coming months. The requirements for this conference were as follows:

#1. In the week before the conference students were to sit down with their parents at home and look over a template of the report card and decide what areas they want to work on. They would choose one goal from the area of Independence, one from Community Membership and one from Academic Fluencies. Knowing that goals can only truly be successful when they come from internal motivation and choice, I really leave it up to the students to make a choice.

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#2. For the week or two prior to conferences kids began to cull through work and select pieces that they wanted to share during their conferences. We asked them to choose one mathematical piece, one piece that had to do with literacy and one that was of their own choosing.

#3. After they chose their work they then filled out a reflection sheet where they described the work, what they learned, who they worked with and how they knew it was ready to put into their portfolio.

#4. Using the Ipod touch, the ipad, the lexmark scanner and the computer the students entered their work into their Evernote account, gave their work a title and tagged it with the kind of work it was (math, art, literacy, science, etc).

#5. Once they had all their items loaded they then prepared a short reflection about what they have enjoyed about the year, what has been challenging and what they might want to change.

#6. With these things finished they then practiced conferencing with at least one other person so they had a good sense of what they would be saying and how they would incorporate Evernote into their conference.

The conferences themselves last about 30 minutes and are run almost completely by the students. They welcome their parents, share their reflection of the year, share their work and then I step in to help type their goals into a new note.

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With their goals for the next few months put into Evernote as a new note all parties (student, teacher and parent) have access to the goal and what the student has done to accomplish that goal. Throughout the week I ask students to go to their Winter Goal note and log what they have done. If they have done nothing, they log that as well. This record is helpful in holding them accountable for their goal work and also lets them see the work they have done to accomplish their goal. Along with logging their work they can attach audio and images of relevant items. It is a great way to document ongoing work and accomplishments.

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