Creating a strong student portfolio is an essential component of showing student growth and evidence of learning progress. The following is a collection of tips for creating a student portfolio that can be used first as a tool for parent teacher conferences, and then as a learning memory book at the end of the school year.
Setting Up Your Portfolios
Using legal-sized hanging file folders is the first step to creating an organized portfolio system. These slightly-larger file folders are perfect for filing special “Wall Worthy” projects that are often larger than 8.5”x11”. After you add name tabs to each hanging folder, organize them in alphabetical order by first or last name.
Next, add two legal-sized manila file folders to each student’s hanging file. One folder will be designated for portfolio items such as projects, writing pieces, reflections, and important assessments.
The second folder will be designated for forms such as confidential assessment data, parent surveys, student goal sheets, copies of IEP, SST, or 504 forms, and other student information sheets for teacher use.
Preparing Portfolios for Parent Teacher Conferences
In the months leading up to parent teacher conferences, begin to take notes on student goals, strengths, and areas of need. You can type these notes into a form divided into two sections: Way To Go and Ways To Grow. Organizing information in this way quickly shows parents a few things going well for their young learner (in the Way To Go category) and areas that need development (in the Ways To Grow category).
Next, collect evidence that can be woven into your conversations with parents at conferences. Providing them with visual evidence to support your commentary about their child’s progress makes these conversations more meaningful and easy to digest.
Transforming Portfolios Into Learning Memory Books
Before your parent-teacher conference ends, decide which portfolio items you will send home with parents and which items you will keep until the end of year.
Keeping all writing final drafts and art projects on hand and in chronological order is highly recommended. This allows you to easily host a learning celebration during which students can read through their best writing pieces, look back on all their artistic creations, reflect on their growth, and make plans for future learning. You are sure to feel a tingle in your teacher heart when the classroom fills with the sounds of flipping pages and tiny giggles as students look back on how far they’ve come since the first day of school.