This week, being parent-teacher conference week, is a time for us to sit together to talk about where your child is, and where we want them to go (goals). A time to reflect, and to look forward. One of the authentic assessment tools we use is a portfolio. Portfolios are collections of photographs and examples of children's work. I think of it as the companion piece to the written narrative which will go out in a couple months. The narratives tell you about your child at school, and the portfolios show you.
At this age, the teacher is the most frequent contributor to the portfolio. I collect samples of work and organize them loosely into categories - social emotional/literacy/math/science/social studies. I take a lot of pictures of your child being engaged in learning. But 3-4 times a year, I enlist each child to select pieces for their own portfolios. They get out their two main notebooks - their poetry anthology and their memory books. I encourage them to look at each and every paper, and to select ONLY one out of each notebook that they are very proud of and want to share with their families.
In this way, they learn that doing good and careful work IS important, and look with a critical eye. When did they go above and beyond? When did they really draw a picture that represented what they poem was about? When was their handwriting beautiful, and sentences interesting?
And, the next time they work on something, I hope a part of their brain thinks, "I'm going to do my best work on this. Who knows, it might even make it into my portfolio as something I'm super proud of!"