It is that time of year again, as the school year winds down, and 8th grade promotion is near at El Capitan Middle School 8th graders are preparing for their 8th Grade portfolios. In the past 5 years the 8th portfolios have transformed from traditional binders full of physical work samples and documents to Power Point slides shows to this year using a website format with Google Sites. As an art, video production and broadcasting teacher I wanted to be sure that my students did not miss the opportunity to share their work as well as what skills, and programs they learned in my classes (despite the fact that elective classes were optional to include.) Art students were to photograph 5 of their best works of art then create a Google Slides presentation. My video production/broadcasting students were to create a video that highlights their 4 best videos then create a video portfolio.
As a educator in the 21st century I started thinking about the importance of portfolios as a means to give students a real world experience in sharing their body of work, skills as well as present their portfolio to develop their soft skills. Portfolios offer students the opportunity to showcase their culmination of work, share their breadth of learning as well give them a real world experience in practicing professional presentations. Students work hard to gather work samples, objectives, write reflections on their learning as well as practice delivering their website portfolio. It is in these types of activities that students are able to understand the relevance of the year's worth of work. Portfolio's also enable students the chance to practice the art of soft skills and the notion of professionalism. Students dress up on portfolio night and present their portfolio to teachers, administrator's from the district office as well as community members. Our schools need to provide more of these types of real world opportunities to our students in order for our students to see the relevancy of the content that they learn in school. It can start in little ways by enabling students to reflect on their learning with an ongoing blog or giving them real world problem situations such as creating a product commercial, marketing their product or having them create an end of year portfolio. Either way students need to be given the real world opportunity to let them shine.
For students who were absent or in and out of the classroom due to testing makeups or doctors appointments I created this screencast as a resource that I posted in their Google Classroom webpages for my classes. Digital screencast are amazing resources for students to recap if they have been absent for a class demonstration, notes or tutorial. I used Jing to capture my screencast, but there is a plethora of other resources out there.