Portfolios, Goals and Collaborating With Students

In my ASCD online course about student portfolios, I’ve been reading about portfolios as tools to encourage reflection. Part of reflection is setting realistic goals based on self-evaluation of artifacts in the portfolio.

One strategy ASCD encourages is modelling for students what a well-crafted goal looks like. They also recommend finding ways to have students collaborate with you in meeting your own goals.

This may sound odd, but In this way students are engaged in goal-setting and portfolio building as “secondary stakeholders.” They are not the ones with success on the line, but they are an essential part of your process. This helps them see the value of building portfolios and setting and acting on goals first-hand as a model.

In one of the articles from the course called, “How Portfolios Motivate Reluctant Writers” by Darlene M. Frazier and F. Leon Paulson, the author described her own portfolio-building process and how she collaborated with her own students. She chose to build a portfolio around showing student growth in writing. She selected one class to participate:

I let my students, who were now secondary stakeholders in the process, select the material to include in my portfolio. This may appear to be a risky move, but I had three goals. I wanted them to include pieces that they felt good about, to gain ownership in the portfolio process, and to learn to evaluate their own work.

Suddenly we were working together. I had become their collaborator instead of their teacher.

At the end of each module in this ASCD course, you are required to develop an application of what you learned, something you can use in your class. In addition, you are prompted to journal about a question related to the content.

This is what I developed as a graphic organizer for goal-setting.

Goal One:


 It’s a bit heavy at the moment, but I’m hoping my 5th graders will rise to the challenge. If it proves too wordy or clunky for them, I can modify it. I used the graphic organizer to set two of my own goals that I will invite their collaboration in meeting. I’ll explain that these are two goals I’ve set and that I will collect artifacts based on these goals for my own teaching with technology growth portfolio.

I believe they’re both goals that they can easily help me with. I don’t see this as an all-consuming project, but in a half-hour here or there, I can ask students to reflect on apps they’ve used, how it’s helped their learning, how they’ve used the app to meet a learning objective, etc. I can ask them to select work they’ve done with apps or any project they’re particularly proud of, reflect on them, and I can add those as well. I’m thinking I want to do this the first month of school. This way, students will be exposed to the portfolio process through my example before they begin their own later in the first quarter.

My “Specific Goal” in this one is actually intentionally a little vague. It’s specific in the sense that it describes what I want to do, but it makes no mention of the quality or type of work. I would be successful in meeting this goal simply by using lots of different apps.

What I’m hoping to draw out of students as we go is that I should refine my goal to be more specific to ensure quality such as: Use more iPad apps in the classroom to meet our objectives in a fun and creative way. Or something like that.

Goal Two:Slide2
I’ve spoken before in another post about how I started this blog this summer for many reasons:

  • to begin more systematically reflecting on my teaching and use of technology
  • to collect resources in one place
  • to participate in our educators’ online community
  • to model for students different aspects of digital citizenship (citing sources, fair use, constructive commenting, topical blogging, etc.)

My blogging goal above is about keeping all of it going during the school year. It’s also a way for me to collect artifacts I can use for my portfolio and model how students will use their own blogs to do the same.


One thought on “Portfolios, Goals and Collaborating With Students

  1. As for using my own portfolio process as a model for students, it’s a great idea, but didn’t happen this year. I will consider trying something like this next year (2014-15).

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