Chapter six in Becoming a Better Teacher is titled “Portfolios: A Window into Students’ Thinking and Learning” and as soon as I read it, I was reminded of my seventh grade Language Arts teacher who had us work on portfolios throughout the year. To this day, I think it was my favourite year in English. It allowed me to write both creatively and technically, it allowed me practice with peer editing, and it allowed me to grow throughout the year and see my progress as a writer. Every year since then, I was disappointed to not have the same type of assignment.
Portfolios of writing make sense for English, but they’re essentially just a collection of students’ best work, and can be used in most subjects with the proper guidelines and suggestions for included work.
To further tout the greatness of portfolios, they’re also an excellent way to view student growth and thus assess their learning in a natural and meaningful way.
I’ve been trying to think of how I can incorporate portfolios into my classroom, being a specialized program, and I think it will be difficult but worthwhile. The kids will have a change to improve their work by utilizing help from the teacher, collaborating with classmates, and their own self-reflection, all of which are exceedingly beneficial and aid in life skills and development.
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