Summertime, And Reflectin’ is Easy

Screen Shot 2015-08-04 at 3.56.32 PMWell, maybe not always easy, but a good time to reflect, nonetheless. Summer is a very reflective time for me. I always think back to what happened last year. What went well and should be repeated? What didn’t work out so well and should be tweaked or changed altogether for next year? And, I always have something new that I want to incorporate into the classroom. I can’t imagine going back to the same lessons done the same way as the year before.

This morning, I was looking through my students’ blogs (click on their names on the right) from the last school year. Their blogs are a portfolio of what they have learned over the past year (or two years in the case of my grade twos). What a treat to look back at their posts and see the difference that our time together actually made. Because I know the back-story of every child and every post I know that many of the posts were huge victories for the children in themselves. The fact that they were part of a larger portfolio of work was just an added bonus.

While sitting on my patio today, I was able to re-watch a student’s writing begin his grade one year with an editor’s note so that a reader could understand his intent as an author…

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…and see this skill morph into the ability to write his own poem. (App used – Draw and Tell)

To watch a child who struggled with the letters of the alphabet begin to read words… (app used – Tellagami)

To watch a student who had at first struggled with the idea of sides and vertices to clearly articulate what he knew about geometric shapes… (app used – Book Creator)

To watch another student’s recording of regrouping and remember the way he redid the video several tries to get it just right… (app used – Camera)

To watch all the students begin to confidently choose a tool that worked best for each of them as a learner to show what they had learned, such as these posts about bike safety… (apps used – Popplet and Book Creator)

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These were all delightful moments. Moments that we celebrated in the classroom. The best thing about digital portfolios though, is that not only can I derive pleasure from them after the fact, but their parents can as well. The students themselves can also watch this grade one progress over and over since their blog will stay online. I would love to go back and see my own grade one year of learning. I can’t do that. But because of the technology that is now available, my students will be able to watch that learning whenever they choose.

And that is something to celebrate.

3 thoughts on “Summertime, And Reflectin’ is Easy

  1. I love your idea of each student having a digital portfolio! What a great way for your students to go back and relive what they have learned. I also like that you gave them choice in deciding which digital tool to use. I teach Kindergarten and we used to make paper portfolios throughout the year. There was one page for each month and it included the child’s photo and a work sample. The pictures allowed the students to see how they changed physically over the year and they also saw how their final work products evolved. Now that technology is more readily available, I would love to try to create a digital portfolio with my students. I think they would LOVE to see and hear themselves and their classmates. I think they would also like the interactive aspect of it. Thank you for sharing!!

  2. Hi! What a great idea! I teach Transitional Kindergarten and I always save student samples. It is always interesting to me, when at the end of the year I return papers and some of my students do not want to claim their first papers. They insist that wasn’t how they wrote or colored. It takes a lot of convincing on my part and even then they are skeptical. I always remark on how much they have improved, they look at me in disbelief. What a wonderful thing to be able to save digital portfolios or even to have students watch themselves as they solve a problem or write a sentence. Thank you for listing the different apps that students used for their different assignments. This is something that I definitely want to explore with my class.

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