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Across and Beyond the Curriculum: Encouraging Choice, Variety and Reflection in Student Portfolio Keeping Appalachian State University August 22, 2011.

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Presentation on theme: "Across and Beyond the Curriculum: Encouraging Choice, Variety and Reflection in Student Portfolio Keeping Appalachian State University August 22, 2011."— Presentation transcript:

1 Across and Beyond the Curriculum: Encouraging Choice, Variety and Reflection in Student Portfolio Keeping Appalachian State University August 22, 2011

2 Goals for Today’s Workshop O refreshing/reminding O going back to basics O leaving here with a list of best practices

3 Why Use Portfolios? O To collect, chart, showcase, evaluate O To promote reflective learning O To involve students in making choices O To emphasize both process and product

4 What counts as a portfolio? A purposeful collection of students’ work that illustrates efforts, progress, achievement – Helen Barrett Any collection of artifacts (documents, photos, videos, etc.) that represents learning, growth, patterns, choices.

5 Types of Portfolios Learning portfolios Showcase portfolios “Open” or “Closed” Program-graded Teacher-graded “Mastery” portfolios for certification Teaching portfolios for professional development

6 Why portfolios have many fans O Portfolio methods are flexible ! O Portfolios bring process and product together O Portfolios require students to take responsibility for their own learning O Portfolio assessment puts students in a situation where they must attend to audience and purpose

7 Change is good! From... O 3 out of 5 projects (revised, edited, polished) To... O 10 pages of evidence that you have met the learning outcomes of this course

8 Your Turn: Assessing Where You Are O As a program, what is working well and what is not in using portfolios? O As a teacher, what is working well and what is not in using portfolios?

9 Problems to Solve O Students don’t know where they stand with grades O Students feel rushed and pressured at the end of the course O How can encouraging choice, variety, and reflection help?

10 Features of PK O Brief, supplemental text O De-mystifies assessment O Provides guidance for course- based portfolios O Choice, Variety, Reflection O If EVERYTHING is included, it’s not a portfolio.

11 Companion volume: PT O Emphasizes teacher- graded classroom portfolios, including: O Planning a portfolio course O Selecting artifacts for a teaching portfolio O Assessing the portfolio

12 Choice O Choices must be genuine/authentic O 2-3 artifacts of *anything* you have written O The higher the course level, the more choices students should be given. O Giving choices also means assigning plenty of writing tasks

13 Importance of storage O What’s in storage that will provide content or context? O Have students analyze their collections/re- organize the contents to find patterns.

14 Variety O not just by genre, but also by O length O when composed O number of readers or reviewers O degree of completeness O variations of document design

15 Across and Beyond: making a case with support from Andrea Lunsford O [Today’s students] are inseparable from their phones, which [Jeff] Grabill called “the new pencil.” With these phones, they are keeping in touch with friends and family, taking notes, writing texts of all kinds.... So YES, texting is writing, and we need to be paying very close attention to it and learning from our students how they are using this new “pencil.”

16 More from Andrea Lunsford O "rather than leading to a new illiteracy, these [nonacademic, social networking] activities seemed to help [students] develop a range or repertoire of writing styles, tones, and formats along with a range of abilities" (www.stanford.edu/group/.../OPED_Our_Semi- Literate_Youth.pdf ).

17 Over the years, we collected nearly 15,000 pieces of student writing: lab reports, research essays, PowerPoint presentations, problem sets, honors theses, and textings (in 11 languages), blogs and journals, poems, documentaries, fan fiction, even a full-length play entitled “Hip-Hopera.” While we are still coding these pieces of writing, several results emerged right away. First, these students were writing A LOT, both in class and out, though they were most interested in and committed to writing out of class, what we came to call “life writing,” than they were in their school assignments. Second, they were increasingly aware of those to whom they were writing and adjusted their writing styles to suit the occasion and the audience. Third, they wanted their writing to count for something; as they said to us over and over, good writing to them was performative, the kind of writing that “made something happen in the world.” Finally, they increasingly saw writing as collaborative, social, and participatory rather than solitary. -- “Our Semi-literate Youth? Not So Fast”

18 In short, O the rhetorical awareness that social media require is almost unprecedented in young people's experiences writing outside of school O so portfolio teachers need to tap into this rhetorical awareness and these experiences

19 Your Turn O Choice & Variety Across the Curriculum O Choice & Variety Beyond the Curriculum O Facebook status updates O Twitter posts, texting

20 Sharing / Reporting Out O What did you come up with for choice and variety across and beyond the curriculum? O Choice and variety need reflection to matter.

21 Reflection O Without reflection, a collection of work is not a portfolio! O Reflection makes learning “stick” O Reflection allows teachers to get unstuck

22 Defining reflection O The ability to think about one’s thinking O Meta-cognition O Self-awareness / self-consciousness O Thoughtfulness O Introspection O Insight

23 Practicing reflective writing O Taking Stock or other prompts O Post-writes or writers’ memos O Companion pieces O Journals or blogs with reflective prompts

24 Options for a reflective element 1. Introduction A cover letter to the evaluator 2. Introduction & Conclusion 3. Brief introduction to each entry 4. Process essays 5. A reflective essay anywhere in the package

25 Assigning the Reflective Element “the most significant piece of writing you will produce this semester” O Remind students of the practice they have had with reflection. O Emphasize the need for support or evidence. O Encourage them to use materials they have put in storage.

26 The students’ job in reflecting O What does this package of stuff mean ? O The learner has to put the meaning into words. O Metacognition O How and why were choices made? O What do these choices represent about the learner? O What changes were made in response to instructor or peer commentary?

27 When stuck, back to basics O What do we know, with some confidence, about how writers work? O about a typical writing process?

28 Portfolio keepers need what all writers need O TIME O OWNERSHIP O RESPONSE O Nanci Atwell, In the Middle

29 Your Turn Again O What do you do to provide time, ownership, and response? O What could you do differently or do more of?

30 Focusing on Response O Who is doing the responding? O At what point in the process? O With what aim or intended outcome? O From what training or practice?

31 Provide questions/criteria O In The Web Portfolio Guide, Miles Kimball identifies 7 criterion for effective electronic portfolios: O Subtlety O Consistency O Clear navigation O Straightforward page layout O Legibility and ease of reading O Thoughtful use of emphasis O Careful use of color

32 Sample peer review prompt O “Choose three of these criteria and comment on the extent to which your partners (or group members) have succeeded in implementing them. Make three concrete suggestions for improvement.”

33 Encouraging Reflection through Peer Review O With opportunities to practice and clear expectations /criteria, students can provide excellent help to each other. O They are “real readers.” O They can teach each other about technologies and share ideas.

34 Best Practices for Appalachian State A new instructor in the program asks you about portfolio teaching. You and your colleagues want to respond with a “Best Practices” list. Let’s start it!


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