“Giftedness is not what you do or how hard you work. It is who you are. You think differently. You experience life intensely. You care about injustice. You seek meaning. You appreciate and strive for the exquisite. You are painfully sensitive. You are extremely complex. You cherish integrity. Your truth-telling has gotten you in trouble. Should 98% of the population find you odd, seek the company of those who love you just the way you are. You are not broken. You do not need to be fixed. You are utterly fascinating. Trust yourself!”

Linda Silverman~Gifted Development Center Denver

Friday, 11 January 2013

Portfolios and Self Assessment FREEBIE

Well it's that time around my school.  No, not just the post-holiday diets and blues...but REPORT CARD time!  My school district uses a program which allows us to create our comments and input our marks on line.  This has made some aspects of the reporting process easier, and as long as the software functions properly (which it frequently doesn't when you have 10,000 teachers trying to log on at the same time) writing reports is no longer what it used to be.  

Page 2 of the Ontario Report Card Gr. 1-8

When I first became a teacher we hand wrote all of our reports.  They were in triplicate, with a white page on top , the middle page was yellow and the bottom page was pink.  I remember having to scour the stationary stores looking for yellow and pink correction liquid!   Needless to say, I was loathe to make a mistake!  These days making a mistake is easier to fix, and  I no longer need liquid paper...mind you, 2 bottles of liquid paper and a pen cost considerably less than a computer does!  

Liquid Paper® Stock Color...
I could only find an image of a bottle of  "blue" as the other colours have been discontinued! 

I digress...I was starting to think about reporting today and was looking through the things I had collected in my assessment and evaluation binder as well as my student portfolios.  While I was leafing through, I discovered a form I started using this year which I have found to be a highly effective student self-assessment tool.  Weekly I send things home with my students so they share what they are doing, and how they are improving with parents/guardians.  

 This year I realized that only my comments were going home on the work.   The assignments rarely  included  comments or reflections from the students.  I frequently require that the students use a rubric or checklist to self-assess their own work but I tend to be the one who decides what goes in to the portfolio each month.  

Portfolio Self Assessment Form

This year, I have encouraged the students to take greater ownership of their portfolios, and choose some of the pieces which will go into it.   The students use the reflection form above to explain why they are putting the chosen piece into their portfolio.  They take it home attached to the piece of work, and discuss their reflections with their parents/guardians.  Students then return the form and work to school and place them in their portfolio.  The portfolio is brought out during parent/teacher/student interviews, or when I want the students to reflect on their progress.  This form helps to organize the portfolios, and stands as a record of what the student was thinking at the time they chose the piece.  I also use these forms to assist me in looking for patterns in what the students choose to put into their portfolios.  Often, they only choose their "best" work, so I added a section to the reflection form which asks them to think about ALL the reasons they might include the piece in their portfolio.

Please leave a comment about how you have students choose their work for portfolios, or what you use to have them reflect on their learning.  I would love to hear from you!
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