Sunday, April 5, 2015

Student-led Conferences and Portfolios

Hi everyone! It's Elyse from Proud to be Primary and I'm here today to tell you how I use student portfolios and student-led conferences in my classroom.

I love that my school district uses student-led conferences as a way of show-casing student work and achievement with families. Our students get to present their work, their learning and their classrooms to their families. It is run by students after a week of practicing and prepping for the big day.

It takes a lot of preparation ahead of time by the teacher. I love spending the time to get things ready because it gives me the opportunity to reflect on how far each of my students has come during the year.

My favourite way to display student work is in a work portfolio. I prepare these at the beginning of the year and add to them throuhgout the year so they are ready to go for the conferences. I select and put aside work pieces that the kiddos worked especially hard on, as well as a few great pieces of artwork. I keep their samples set-aside by month and later file them in a tub that is separated by name.

Before conference time, I put together their portfolios by stapling and gluing in their work samples. I also made this cute cover page for them to write their names (in fancy writing or block letters) and to color before I glued them on the cover.

1. I cut a large piece of bristol board in half to make a front and back (each piece should be 14" x 22").
2. I cut large pieces of construction paper into 13" x 21" pieces. I like to have 2 pieces of paper for each month of the school year (20 pieces of paper). I like to use black paper because it makes for a nice backdrop, but you could use any colors.
3. I bind them together with a ring. If you do not have a binding machine, you could staple it together with a heavy duty stapler.
4. You are now ready to add student work! Once it's been bound together, it is easy to open and flip to the next page. There is room for 1 or 2 things on each large page.
I insert items by month into the portfolios so that families can see the growth through the year. They can see how much their child has learned and how far they have come with their writing, drawing, artwork, etc. I like to put a label with the month in the corner of the page as a guide to the viewer.
On the first inside page of the portfolio, I have my students write about themselves. I call it "Who I Am!" My students follow a template and input their own information. For example, My name is..., I am ... years old. I also give them the opportunity to complete some sentences with their own ideas. For example, My favourite part of school is...
I have created this simple writing paper for my students to use and they always turn out great. I will also add a photograph of them at school to go next to their writing. 

The week of the conferences is focused on preparations. We practice and prepare  what our families will see. We complete a reflection and goal sheet and a student-self assessment. 

1. Reflection Sheet
Before completing our reflection, we prepare by brainstorming about what we have learned so far this year.
 This is usually surprisingly hard for them as young children live in the NOW and often forget what they've already done. Reminders are necessary!
I wish for them to share things they are good at. I boast about how they have learned to READ and WRITE and ADD and SUBTRACT!
I get them to share their favorite part of school.
They also need to come up with a goal for the rest of the year.
Finally, I request a "powerful" picture that will "WOW" our families that is neat with lots of details and careful coloring. We hang these up on our "WOW Work" board for families to see.

2. Student Self-Assessment
I have my students self-assess their work habits and social skills at school. I made a quick self-assessment with clear, easy to understand questions and cute simply faces that children can understand.
We sit together at the carpet with a clipboard, pencil and eraser in hand. I explain that I need them to be honest about their answers and to think about themselves personally, but not too critically. I tell them it is okay to not get all smiley faces and that no one is perfect. That there are things that everyone works.
We go one question at a time, reading the questions and coloring in the faces to show if they do something all the time, some of the time, or needs work. It's nice to see how honest my students are about their strengths and areas to work on. 

3. Conference Practice
Day One
It is important for my students to practice for their conferences. The conferences go smoothly when there is adequate time to review the expectations and have a pretend practice with a friend. 
I start by giving my students a copy of the student-led conference checklist. We read each part together, stopping along the way for me to demonstrate what they need to do. I have a large checklist hanging up on the wall for the kids to use as a guide during their practices.
Students go to their desks and read through their portfolios and journals. 
They pick and practice a math skill they will show their families. Some of the choices I give are an 'addition peace' card game, adding and subtraction on the human number line, number of the day activities on a white board, or playing a game with the 'dice in dice'. 

Day Two
I pair them up and they take turns going through the conference with a friend. They have so much fun pretending to be the other persons' family member. After this, students are well prepared for the big day.

4. Classroom Preparation
On the day of the conferences, we do a thorough classroom clean-up of our desks, personal spaces, and the classroom. 
On their desks,they lay out their work portfolios, a conference checklist for parents and students, their journal, and a parent & student goal & reflection sheet. I request that parents fill out the reflection sheet with their child at the end of the conference. 
My favourite part of the conferences is watching my students greet their families and share their achievements with so much pride and confidence. Students feel successful and parents leave incredibly happy to see how far their child has come.

If you are interested in grabbing ALL of the sheets I use for planning and executing my student-led conferences and preparing student portfolios for FREE, click the image BELOW.
I hope that you have found this post useful in giving you some new ideas on student-led conferences.
I would love to hear how you have students share their learning with their families.
Do you use student-led conferences at your school to showcase student work?
How does your school share student work and achievement with families?

Thanks for stopping by!

No comments:

Post a Comment