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Portfolio of Evidence
In the next academic year, our students in Year 11 are required to produce a portfolio of evidence. The great news about this is the move away from assessment-driven grades, and rather a move towards evidence of what the students can do, over time. Students are able to engage with multiple texts and resources, and then demonstrate their understanding via multi-media formats. Some teachers at my school were concerned about all this flexibility: how do students (and teachers) keep track of the variety of evidence?
I produced a step-by-step guide to help students to create and arrange their work on websites.
The setup is pretty easy, so I haven't included it in this post. What is not as easy is convincing staff of the ease with which students can both create and navigate portfolios of work across multiple curriculum areas. I demoed the setup as well as the categories or tabs that students could have.
Through the coaching journey, we learned to model the process and the outcome. So I created an example site in a session with the Heads of Departments. https://sites.google.com/orewacollege.nz/yourname?usp=sharing This started to look more promising, with questions about subpages, and about how to capture all the website links.
Next, I had to explain how students could build up their portfolios. People were asking questions about the evidence itself:
How much evidence is enough?
What can students produce to demonstrate understanding?
Are multi-media posts easy for students to publish?
So I created a few small tasks that could show the steps students could take at the start of the year as we build relationships by getting to know them better. My inspiration for some of these tasks comes directly from the Apple Education Forum.
Get students (and teachers) thinking about what is unique about them. What is it that makes them who they are?
Students can be reluctant at first to explain themselves. Some find it challenging to describe their unique culture and circumstances. So next I rolled out an old favourite of mine- fill the locker with personal symbols.
The great part of this coaching exercise was that the teachers could see that I wasn't creating new lessons. I was simply drawing ideas together to give students multiple ways of expressing themselves. They could use Pages, Keynote or Clips. But whatever they use, each product would go onto their site, or Portfolio of Evidence.
This next task is an adaptation from the Everyone Can Create series. Basically, you have to express something about yourself (your heritage, culture, skills and hobbies) in ONE word and ONE background.
Having seen Karen Irwin's post on Phonics Photography on the Forum, I decided to add another task. Students choose a photo that depicts a setting they love, and then they can animate the area's name.
Finally, I opened the writing tool we make use of at our school, called Writer's Toolbox. I showed them how we could move from a number of activities to some literacy tasks. Short engaging activities, and then ones that take more thought and planning. My curriculum area is English. But I could hear the teachers discussing ways that this could work in their particular area. The beauty of this system is that the students can see links between their subjects, and it is easy for parents to navigate.
This idea of using sites for a portfolio is not a new one. What is new is that we are finally able to introduce it in the college years; the certificate years. We will be using portfolios for our Years 8 to 11 students. These sessions were a clear use of skills learnt on the ALC (Apple Learning Coach) course. There were the Tourists; the Adventurers, and a number of Staycationers. We have started the Inquiry and Planning phases. I predict that the Staycationers will pack their passports for the Act phase 🤞
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