The School Year is Coming to a Close - Portfolio Time

Officially as of today we have one month of school remaining, before we know it we will be saying goodbye to our students and hello to the summer. Now is the time of year for students to reflect on the things they have learned this year and to showcase the knowledge they have gained. The last month of school in my ESL class is devoted to developing portfolios. Portfolios need to be planned from the beginning with the end in mind. As I am planning for the each week, I always have in the back of mind "how will this skill/lesson be showcased in the portfolio"?

The purpose of the portfolio is to recap the learning of the student and give the teacher for next year a good baseline of the student's knowledge and skills. During the year I do four units with my students: fiction, non fiction, book clubs and poetry. In each unit there are standards that the students are held accountable for. For example in the book clubs unit, students need to have completed one book review and wrote an essay comparing and contrasting their book with someonelse's book in their group. These two things will go in their poetry section of the portfolio.

The portfolio is put together by the student. For each piece of work the student places in the portfolio the student also does a review of that work. This can be a short answer response, a checklist or an essay. The students highlight things they enjoyed, strengths, and weaknesses about the piece. This is a time for students to reflect on the things they learned during the unit.

Students also choose one piece that they want to improve (this is usually something from the beginning of the year). The student will they rework the piece they choose and write a rationale for why they chose that piece and how they improved it.

This is a good way to end the year because students get to see all the work they have done and how they have improved from the beginning of the year. However, it is best to plan do make a portfolio from the beginning of the year, so that students save their work to showcase it in their portfolio.