NWPM Portfolio Institute

August 13, 14, and 15, 2012
Central Michigan University

Monday, August 13

1. Connecting Portfolio Work to the Framework for Success in Post-Secondary Writing

Habit of Mind
Portfolio Connections
  • Students have to "want to" write and learn something; after awhile students could look at all that they have written in different formats and genres
  • Where do students get a chance to develop their own ideas?
  • Students seem reluctant to share with fellow students, let alone with us as the teacher; they write just a bit and they "are done"
  • Students don't really know what it might look like; they need to see examples
  • How can the technology make it easier to share?
  • In using digital portfolios, students become more active in what they are learning rather than just regurgitating "what's expected"; identify their own strengths and weaknesses
  • What are the creative opportunities that we have?
  • What can they envision?
  • Having enough time to get students on the computers
  • My own organization and staying on track with things throughout the year
  • Help show students how to be persistent with their portfolio (computer lab Fridays - work on writing and update portfolio)
  • Have them take responsibility to place pieces in their portfolio; that is difficult for them, but we are hoping that digital can be an incentive
  • Presenting students with different opportunities and formats; help them make choices
  • Purposes, audiences, genres
  • Blended genres/mulitgenre research
  • Students look back at what they have done, discuss the decisions that they have made and how they have grown; final exam based around a reflection on your portfolio
  • Getting kids to write with quality and improving their work, internalizing criteria, multiple drafts, meeting expectations for coursework; could show up as multiple revisions not just the finished product as well as some kind of evidence that they are internalizing their own questions
  • Look at the revision history in Google Docs

2. Portfolios "Now": One Word Definition

  • Growth
  • Culmination
  • Evolving
  • Competency
  • Progress
  • Demonstrates
  • Assessment
  • Collection
  • Creator
  • Decision-maker
  • Effort

3. Examining One Student's Portfolio

  • Tyler
    • Questions to consider while viewing:
      • What kind of an assessment "umbrella" can we bring to the portfolio?
      • How is the portfolio organized? Did the student decide? Did the teacher provide a rubric?
      • What were the requirements and how much time was given?
      • What is the purpose and audience for the portfolio?
      • How much leeway did he have in the creative presentation? Aesthetics?
      • How is this writer a risk-taker? Having taken new risks, how does he represent this?
      • How much can we see in terms of interactions with a teacher/coach? What types of reflections are present?
      • What was developed by the teacher? The staff? The school district?
      • What is the balance between style and substance? Do aesthetics count?
      • What elements of the portfolio are digitally-convenient vs digitally-enhanced?
    Observations and questions arisen:
      • Exit portfolio for career readiness (as compared to academic skills)
      • Culminating portfolio to "show me what you have learned" (all the info is saved in Google Docs)
      • Different ideas about what portfolios are -- the language arts perspective ("gathered writing with reflection") as compared to other purposes/audiences
      • How do we create "work portfolios with reflections" and then, eventually, "reflective portfolios with work?"
      • He created a digital book that he could use flexibly during his presentation
      • The aesthetics made the site look clean, you could follow what you needed to follow and find it
      • Consistency of the fonts, colors, organization
      • Possibility of integrating some more creative presentations (podcast)
      • File formats and presentations on the website
      • Other purposes -- he could highlight the benchmarks that he might look at for people to focus on
      • Criteria/planning -- this wasn't just a portfolio for writing pieces, it was documentation of what he had done
      • Included exhibits -- digital photos/scans
      • How many years would it take for the student to collect and keep track of the artifacts -- how to help them manage the work over time?
      • The later benchmarks you get the reflective piece discussing the criteria that he is trying to meet
      • It could look a little different based on purpose; more on his identity as a writer
      • Concerned that this might not adapt itself well to someone in a different field (template from Google Sites, additional embedded elements)
      • I wish that there was at least one benchmark where the student had the freedom to choose something to exhibit their personality/creativity (see more of him, beyond just text)
      • From a student perspective, what is the purpose for this? How do we share/present our portfolios to others? It serves so many purposes that perhaps it doesn't serve any particular purpose at all...

4. Questions about Authentic Assessment

  • How do we use rubrics more effectively?
  • How do we help students get interested in the value of work beyond the grade?
  • How do I keep my head screwed on straight and still allow for choice?
  • How do I manage privacy concerns with students (age 12 and under)?
  • Can I manage the portfolios in such a way that I can read and assess it?

5. Portfolio Tools

Web Building Tool
  • Easy to work with
  • Drag and Drop
  • Layouts are not as customizable
Google Sites
  • One Google password to remember.
  • Collaborative possibilities
  • Large learning curve
  • Editing navigation tabs is confusing because text doesn't appear until it is saved.
  • Pretty easy to use.

Kidblog or Edublogs
  • Private - you need a password to view material
  • Teacher is in control of content

  • Teacher can make it a private community or open it to the public
  • Free for educational use for up to 100 users

Social Networking Tools

  • Incorporating Google Docs
  • Accepts URLs, so that was easy to keep things organized
  • Helps keep things organized for online grading
  • Cumbersome to upload documents, can't really reply to the documents within Edmodo
  • How come it is like FB, but it is not FB?
  • If you don't have Bb or Moodle, it could be useful
  • Doesn't allow you to personalize quite as much as other sites

Youth Voices (Social Network)
  • Ability to post items and then have space for others to reply
  • It was very easy for students to use
  • Moderated by NWP teachers, used as a way to keep in touch over the summer
  • Setting some norms for posting would have been helpful

Curation/Organization Tools

Three Ring
  • Quick and easy to record student work on the go
  • Take pictures of paper/projects
  • Students don't have access to own work
  • May not be the best "container" for student work
Live Binder

  • Like Three Ring, you can post pictures, audio, and text
  • Building it into our daily lives

Multimedia Tools

Voice Thread


6. Sample Portfolio Artifacts

7. Closing the Day

  • Liked Framework for Success; looking at some of the tools more in depth
  • Like to see more on the assessment pieces
  • Connection to the Common Core
  • Need to have some ideas for helping better communicate these ideas to parents, admins, etc
  • This is pretty timely because I am meeting with my school improvement committee and we are talking about assessment, common core, and writing
  • If you have a student who is struggling in school, but is making progress -- how do you communicate with the student that you are making progress even though they are "behind" in the standards?

Tuesday, August 14

1. Portfolio Writing Assessment

2. Multimodal Assessment

3. Conversations on Multimodal Assessments

Authentic Audiences
Digital Environments
  • This needs to be a student-centered approach where they are in control of the various audiences that they are selecting
  • Reflection is crucial and must be taught; teach it, constructive response, and encourage collaboration
  • We as teachers need to decide what technologies are effective
So what?
  • Creating intrinsic motivation and it maintains student ownership; covered responsibility, flexibility, engagement, openness, and creativity
  • Quality matters and reflection improves that; reflection is transferable to other contexts
  • If we don't teach it, they possibly/probably won't do it
  • It is our job to help them determine their audience, as well as when it is time to share with that audience
Now what?
  • Students would have a portfolio and part of their assessment would be to send a link to someone of their choosing (outside of the school) and that person would give feedback based on a simple protocol
  • To think along other lines and creating experiences for K-12 (writing center staffed by students or parent volunteers)
  • Which tool is best for students? We need to get out there and know what is out there to make the match.
  • Does student collaboration enhance the product?
  • We need to teach them to use the internet ethically
  • We need to get the ball rolling!

Wednesday, August 15

1. Reforming for Global Citizenship: Teaching and Facilitating to Serve a Diverse World

  • How can we get them to write more? Invite them into an authentic project that they will never forget.
  • What does diversity look like in our classrooms? How can assessments help us move toward the reforms that we need?
  • Peggy McIntosh "White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack"
  • Building relationships is the one element that we have control over in schools, and especially in our classrooms

2. Planning for Your (Brief) Presentation

  • Provide a connection to one or two of the "Habits of Mind" from the Framework for Success that are particularly relevant
  • Provide a connection to one or two of the CCSS standards for writing that are particularly relevant
  • Briefly describe your project and, if applicable, share the URL

Site URL
Habits of Mind
CCSS Connections
I believe I am going to stick with two tools that I am very familiar with for now, Edmodo and Wikispaces. I have looked at several other options, and I may incorporate those in the future (even by the end of this school year) but for now I will go with what I know we have access to and just work on improving what I already started. I will have students store a variety of writing pieces in their Edmodo libaries (I am still trying to make sure that everyone’s library is their own and private) until the time comes to create a portfolio. Then, largely because of the age issue, I will have all the students create a portfolio on my wikispace.

Research – I want to be able to show my colleagues how well my students have done and convince them to join me and help the students further, even up through HS. I’d like to get all the grades above 7th on board with this kind of project and vision for our students’ futures.
Last year’s end-of-year first try at digital portfolios: https://mrspowell.wikispaces.com/2012+Portfolios
Since I teach 7th grade, one of my foremost habits to emphasize is responsibility. Our entire middle school building focuses on this as an essential skill for all of our students, and anyone who has ever worked with this age group knows that there is a need for explicit teaching of this habit. I am also encouraged with the idea of engagement, since again my level of student tends to be at that age when they don’t see the point of school other than to appease the adults and socialize with their peers. Having them engaged in their learning could make all the difference in the world.
My focus will be on standards 7.4 – 7.6 Production & Distribution of Writing, esp 4 & 5 regarding audiences. Students will have to be constantly aware of not only the audience of each individual piece, but in the creation of a portfolio, they will have to consider the impact of the overall effect on several different audience members. I think that focusing on the audience, and not so much on the grade, will help emphasize all of those “Habits of Mind,” and not just the two I focused on earlier.


My school conducts a writing assessment for all students that is given at the beginning of the school year, and again toward the end of the year. Pieces (anonymously identified) are given a rating by the two English teachers. This evaluation supposedly demonstrates progress in writing skills over the course of a school year. The prompt is the same for both assessments.

I envision a research project in which a number of students would be enrolled in a portfolio writing workshop. Students would participate in a number of writing activities throughout the year, with the broad goal of improving writing skills. Evidence of the success (or failure) or the portfolio workshop would be demonstrated in significantly improved ratings of the spring assessment.
I have created a wiki page for my school. Here is my "jumping off" page.
The Habits of Mind that would be emphasized are:
  • Openness - for students to share their writing to an audience
  • Persistence -- for students to keep writing, over time
  • Flexibility -- to adapt to a variety of situations and writing activities
CCSS Writing Standards (using Grades 9-10)
Producation and Distribution of Writing
Range of Writing
My plan is to convert my work on wikispaces to weebly and making this space a multipurpose platform that will include student portfolios, lesson plans, unit links, etc. I hope to have students create a "my mentors" page that will allow them to use RSS feeds so that they can have up to date texts of their interests across the text types.
Creativity, openness, curiosity, and engagement.
W.11-12.6. Use technology, including the Internet, to produce, publish, and update individual or shared writing products in response to ongoing feedback, including new arguments or information.

SL.11-12.5. Make strategic use of digital media (e.g., textual, graphical, audio, visual, and interactive elements) in presentations to enhance understanding of findings, reasoning, and evidence and to add interest.
I have not digitized portfolios before. So, I am in the beginning stages of choosing a platform for those. My district is in the first year of having no in-house technology person. We will be relying on a tech team from the ISD. I will need to communicate my needs and have recommendations and justifications in place before I negotiate a platform. I envision the three ring binder that I already have them create becoming the hub of a digitized portfolio as an exit/senior project.

The primary habit of mind that I hope to encourage is metacognition. If my seniors are aware of who they are, what they have accomplished upon completion of high school, and where they are heading next then I will have definitely impacted their lives. Many of the other habits of mind will naturally be a piece of that—especially flexibility (since it’s new to them and me) and persistence.

I will create a Weebly Website that will serve many purposes. The first will be much like my class website that I’ve used in the past, where I put my lesson plans, the agenda each day, pictures, videos, etc. The second and newer element is that it will serve as a place where students will be able to “publish and submit” their multimodal works. I will have a table with all students and each will have a link to their own Weebly site. I used to have students submit a folder with Google Docs filled with assignments to me of all of their work and I spent ungodly amounts of time grading said folders at the end of each quarter or semester. And they wrote reflections and revised ALL of their work ONE LAST time for the final portfolio. This was great for the revision process and it worked really well for some things, but I was going crazy with time. I would like NOW for this new process to be more streamline for ALL works to be housed in one FINAL place for a FINAL portfolio. Eventually, I can envision students using this website as a presentation to a panel, like for a mock job interview. I can also envision a lot of room for growth within our district for these portfolios, but right now I want to get a foothold on my own classes.
This will develop curiosity through bringing in choice and ownership. The openness they will discover may come from multiple forms of examples. Students will not be regurgitating because they will be highly engaged. Creativity will find its way as they will more opportunities with multimodalities. I believe persistence will be difficult as time is always a management factor in technology and education. Finding the responsibility to make the portfolios polished will grow, I believe. I also find the metacognition will be the most crucial element and demonstrate the most growth for me as a teacher researcher.
Grades 6-8
6. Use technology, including the Internet, to produce
and publish writing and present the relationships
between information and ideas clearly and
Grades 9-10
6. Use technology, including the Internet, to produce,
publish, and update individual or shared writing
products, taking advantage of technology’s
capacity to link to other information and to display
information flexibly and dynamically.
Grades 11-12
6. Use technology, including the Internet, to produce,
publish, and update individual or shared writing
products in response to ongoing feedback,
including new arguments or information.
1. Create digital portfolios using pbworks.com

2. Create file folder portfolios and use kidblog to for one genre of writing and use it for digital collaboration among students

Last summer I participated in a Tech Prep institute. We had many guest and varied speakers from the business sector. We also visited four distinctly different businesses. Each of the businesses we visited hired some high school aged students for entry level jobs. Without exception, the guest speakers and the businesses expressed a desire for students to have a "professional" online presence. I was out of this that the idea for online portfolios grew.

The portfolio format I set up, and revised in the last few days, gives all students ample opportunity to reflect on and communicate their educational goals, classes & classwork highlights, activities, community service and a spot to demonstrate their unique skills
Engagement, Responsibility, Metacognition
Writing Standards

Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas

Language Standards
A combination of ThreeRing and
changes to the pbworks classroom
wiki I have been using
Your wiki page
and your
portfolio grade
Creativity, Engagement,
and Responsibility
7th grade Writing standards #5 and #6 re: Production &

Additional Resources

Sample Portfolios