This year I am the luckiest teacher in the world. I get to teach at the best school ever – International School of Morocco, with some of the best, most creative, teachers ever. Each time I walk into someone else’s classroom, I get inspired and we just seem to spiral great teaching ideas off of each other. It’s a wonderful place to teach, and since we are all collaborating, it’s a wonderful place for our kids to learn – a teacher’s dream, right? I have tried and tried to convince the other teachers to create blogs of their own to spotlight and share some of their amazing ideas, but everyone is super busy. Instead, they have each agreed to let me spotlight some of their ideas right here on Raki’s Rad Resources. So, each Friday night, I will be posting an ISM Spotlight.
This week marks the start of the third and final trimester of the school year. In most schools, this is the time people start to think and worry about portfolios. However, at the International School of Morocco, we have been talking about portfolios since the beginning of the year, both for students and for teachers. Portfolios show learning as what it really is, a long process that develops slowly over the course of time, rather than being a snapshot of a single moment of understanding on a single day, as tests are. Portfolios can and should be used all all learning levels – child and adult. In addition to being a place to showcase learning, they are a place and time for the learner and educator to reflect on the growth that has happened.
Each teacher at ISM has been slowly building their own teacher portfolios using Weebly, the website we also use to update our parents on school and class announcements. I have completed my portfolio this week and am ready to e-mail it in to be used as part of my teacher evaluation. The process of going back through pictures and projects I have done with my students was wonderful for me. I was able to reflect and see how I have grown as a teacher over these past few years.
During the process of building my portfolio in Weebly, I realized that this program would be just as good as LiveBinders for creating student portfolios as well. So, I created a student tutorial sheet to add to my Online Student Portfolios Packet.
Since many of the Year 3 – Year 6 students have already begun their portfolios in LiveBinders, we will be using LiveBinders again this year. The students who already began their portfolios will add a new tab and subtabs, and the students who are new to the school will start from scratch. (To see how last year’s portfolios turned out, check out this post from last year.) Although we will wait about 2 more weeks before we begin the official brainstorming process, we have been discussing with students all year long which projects they would like to include in their portfolios. Most students want to add their Heat Inquiry Videos and have created multiple Math Tutorial Videos that they are excited to add. I am most excited for the students who began their portfolios last year to open up their portfolios and see how much their work has grown since last year’s entries.
The teacher for Year 1 and Year 2, Courtney Nassar, has been building her portfolios all year long by taking dated pictures of her student’s work on her iPad. She labels each picture with her student’s name and at the end of the year is able to sort the students’ work by their name and create a virtual portfolio to share with the parents.
In Nursery and Reception, the teachers have been saving key pieces of artwork, self portraits and handwriting all years, being sure to date each piece. At the end of the year, they will sort through the pieces with the students to choose which ones belong in the students’ portfolios.
How important are portfolios at your school?