Beyond using portfolios as a place to store finished work, Evernote allows my students to use it as a place for ongoing work.
This week my students have been working on book reviews for works of fiction they have been reading in book clubs. As they move through the writing process (pre-writing, drafting, conferencing, revising, editing, publishing) I am having them use Evernote to share their work with me. I spend a lot of time helping students become good critics of the writing of their peers. We do that in authentic ways where classmates can really help each other become better writers. That means that students are conferencing with each other at least once as they move toward publishing. Of course I want to have the opportunity to read kids work, but I tend to wait until they have already meet with peers.
Kids can often become frustrated in the writing process when they have to be constantly rewriting their work. This is where word processing comes into play with my students. I always ask students to write a first draft by hand. Most kids are not really fast on the keyboard so I want to make sure their ideas don’t get bogged down by the speed of their typing. However, once they have done a first draft and received feedback they like to get on the computer to type their revisions. In that way they also don’t have to do as much rewriting after I give feedback.
So I can see the work they do and give them feedback (without having to collect everyone’s papers) I have students put their revisions on Evernote using the Evernote word processing option. I also ask them to photograph their first draft so I can see the changes that they have already made. In this way it is easy for me to look at all the work they have done so far and offer changes and suggestions. I do this on a piece of paper that they can hold when they go back to their writing. Additionally students can photograph my suggestions as well. This ongoing documentation is a great way to show student growth along the path of a single piece of writing. When portfolios are “alive” in this way they become valuable tools for students, teachers and parents.
Below is an example of a student’s first draft (in photo) and their typed revision ready for me to look over.