Are your student portfolios one of those tasks you leave to the last minute? I’m guilty of sitting on my loungeroom floor stuffing my student portfolios late at night. And, if you’re looking for some last-minute ideas about what to include in your student portfolios, or you’re vowing to plan ahead and make your student portfolios easier to collate next year – this blog is for you!
Hot tip: Get your students to take ownership of their own portfolios – hand out all the assessments or documents you’ve been filing away and get them to stuff their own folders. Many hands make light work!
What is a Student Portfolio?
A student portfolio is a purposeful collection of work samples from each of the learning areas. The portfolio may include work samples, assessment tasks, photos, student self-reflection, student learning goals and more.
Not only are student portfolios invaluable for student handover at the end of a school year, they are also great for the following reasons:
- helping students with goal setting
- guiding self-reflection for students
- helps to increase home/school communication
- the provide a compact profile of what a student can do
- assists with report card writing
- great to use during parent/teacher interviews
Student Portfolios Don’t Need to be Perfect
Don’t get caught up with the portfolios being perfect, in fact, it’s far more useful if it’s not. A student portfolio is only useful if it is a true reflection of what they can do. I confess that during my time as a classroom teacher, I have announced- “This piece of writing is for your portfolio so make sure that you do your best!”
Looking back, I figure that maybe that was more about me wanting portfolios to look perfect, rather than encouraging my students to do their best. The reality is that children are usually doing their best in a given moment in a given set of circumstances. That is more than enough to feature in a student portfolio.
Student Portfolios for Communication Home
A student portfolio creates a channel of communication between home and school. They provide a well-organised snapshot of a students’ achievements that is easy for parents or carers to digest. The majority of parents love to swoon over the pages of their child’s student portfolio. Likewise, most students get a real buzz out of sharing their achievements with their family.
Remember to include photographs as a quick and easy way to capture positive learning experiences. A good photograph speaks volumes!
Self-reflection helps students develop the skill they need to be lifelong learners who seek continual growth and development. During my time as a classroom teacher, I saw how much parents love to read their child’s student self-reflection. It’s a good idea to make it a significant component of a student portfolio.
Start your portfolio with a bang and include our hot off the press My Term Reflection template. An editable version of this template has been created. This enables you to change the headings to suit your needs.
There are many benefits of student self-reflection. Reflection encourages students to:
- see the importance of their own learning
- identify what they did well and what they need to improve on
- feel motivated
- think critically
- set goals and targets.
It could not be easier to include some student reflection with our What have I Learnt In… Reflection Worksheets. Students use these worksheets to reflect on what they learnt in English, Mathematics, Science, Health, Geography and History.
What to Include in a Student Portfolio
Your school may have a list of things to include in a student portfolio. Or, it may be entirely down to you to decide on what you want to showcase. Here are some documents you may like to include in your student portfolios:
- samples of work from key learning areas – keep it simple
- writing samples including plans and draft copies
- open-ended tasks such as Mathematics Investigations
- student self-reflection
- photographs to capture positive learning experiences such as group work
- goals and targets
- certificate and awards
- summative assessment pieces (optional).
Using Student Portfolios for Student Handover
You will make a lot of friends if you pass on student portfolios as part of your student handover. A comprehensive student portfolio will provide an instant and much-needed snapshot of an individual’s strengths and areas that require consolidation.
In addition to providing a comprehensive student portfolio, make student handover as smooth as possible by providing the next teacher with useful data and impartial information.
Make your life easy by using one of our stress-busting editable class lists to compile a spreadsheet of essential student information. The information that you share might include:
- class assessment data
- verified students – those on an Educational Adjustment Program (EAP)
- areas for consideration
- additional intervention participation
- significant changes to students’ home life.
Student handover will be a breeze with a student portfolio and comprehensive, informative class lists by your side.
Wherever you are right now in the world of student portfolios, be kind to yourself. If it hasn’t gone to plan this year, perhaps the new academic year is a good time to begin scheduling portfolio pieces ahead of time as part of your termly planning. Keep it simple and let go of perfection.