The purpose of the opening of class today is to check-in with students and make sure they are on track to complete their portfolios in time. I do a quick “free write” where students write what they have left to finish and what their focus for today’s class will be. If I have a smaller class, I have students report out verbally. I note for myself which students seem to need more support in order to finish in time. Later, when I circulate around the room, I sit with each of these students individually and help them prioritize and plan their remaining steps.
Students will now continue working on their portfolios. I like to help students stay on task by asking them to set a goal of what they would like to accomplish by the end of class. I’ll make a list at the board with their names and what part of the portfolio they plan to work on right now.
I may focus on helping students reflect on their learning today. The Reflection piece of the portfolio asks students to think about their successes and challenges throughout the unit. They are also reflecting on their learning when they are describing some of the pieces they have chosen to include, and what they learned from completing those tasks.
I might guide students in this by asking them the following questions:
I am always interested to read students reflections at the end of their portfolio projects. I find them to be very honest and clear about where they struggled in the unit. They often are able to be reflective about the effort, or lack in effort, that they put into the class. Students are also skilled at knowing exactly which content they have mastered and what they are still confused about. I think it's a positive experience for them to think back over the unit and perhaps plan for what they'd like to do differently moving forward.
For today's closing I ask students to reflect on their portfolio experience. I might ask them to reflect on how this kind of assessment compares to a traditional assessment like a test. I ask them if/how it enhanced their learning. If there’s time, I have students share verbally as these comments can be valuable insights to share with the whole class.
Note: This material is adapted from the IMP Teacher’s Guide, © 2010 Interactive Mathematics Program. Some rights reserved.