Over a week ago we implemented the use of portfolios. To introduce them, students used 140 characters or less to define portfolios and tell if they felt they were useful. Some students were able to post responses on Twitter via @GSMS7thMath.
After realizing that portfolios aren’t a new concept for students I went on to inform them their math portfolio will be their avenue to take charge of the year. Students collected work samples from Wednesday to Wednesday, an idea I gained from @turtletoms. On the second Wednesday, they reviewed their portfolios and selected at least one piece of work which they felt best demonstrated their understanding of the learning targets.
Wednesday the 10th, students submitted their first piece of work from their portfolio for scoring. A few revelations happened for students. Some students realized they had ample pieces to submit and turned in more than one, some saw they didn’t have anything of quality to turn in and other saw they had absolutely nothing to turn in. I’m reserving judgment on if this will be a turning point for those students.
The variety of work submitted ranged from the pretty good
To down right…blank, literally no work:
My hope is that the focus will shift from how students are performing on a particular assignment collected by the teacher to the students’ progression towards mastery of the standards. My hope is students will be more invested in the quality of work they produce because it is a reflect of their understanding. It is also my hope that students will stop asking, “Is this for a grade?” and begin thinking of each activity as a chance to refine their demonstration of the expectation, a Austin’s Butterfly affect.