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Students Showcase Work at Spring Conferences

By Lindsey Petlak on March 18, 2014
  • Grades: 3–5, 6–8, 9–12

Spring conference time is here, giving students the opportunity (and you the challenge!) to show off everything they’ve accomplished. For the teacher dealing in a mix of both digital and paper work, this task seems even more daunting. I’ve tried everything under the sun, and I think I have finally found my portfolio miracle!

Using OpenSchool ePortfolio enabled my students to create engaging student portfolios to showcase both paper and digital products. Now that my students have used this tech tool for conference preparation, I plan to have them use it throughout the remaining trimester so they may have a finished portfolio to share with their parents at the end of the school year!

Not only does OpenSchool allow students to curate all of their work in one convenient location, but it also has many other benefits:

  • Authentic assessment and progress monitoring

  • Demonstration of whole-child learning

  • Exhibits work encompassing multiple levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy

  • Provides prompt feedback through comments from students, parents, and teachers

  • Effective means of engaging parent communication about progress

  • Teacher-directed and student-driven work collections

  • Common Core State Standards-aligned, teacher-created rubrics for each project uploaded

  • Chromebook, laptop, and iPad compatible


Sneak Peek at Our Portfolios

Check out our portfolio-building process by visiting my in-class learning page instructions and viewing my portfolio action shots!

Click on the image above to see full class instructions for OpenSchool student work submissions.



Favorite Featured Work

We’ve added everything under the sun to our ePortfolios, from traditional paper work, to digital 21st-century learning products. These are a few of my favorite student pieces:

  • Fakebook (digital)

  • Google presentations (digital)

  • Educreations fraction recordings (See my post on how we produced these amazing student products!) (digital)

  • Close reading articles and reading responses (paper)

  • Figurative language activities (paper)

  • Math student work samples (paper)


More Than Just Show

OpenSchool obviously provides a platform for student portfolios to be displayed at our student-led spring conferences, but how do I plan to utilize them for maximum impact?

  • Parent homework: Following conferences, parents will be asked to review their child's portfolio and add comments to each student entry.

  • Keep adding: Continued addition of teacher-assigned, student-created uploaded portfolio pieces for the remainder of the school year.

  • Constant communication: Since we don’t have end-of-year conferences, I’ll be sending parents notifications throughout the remaining trimester as students upload pieces, as I complete rubrics, and to monitor their child’s progress.

  • Student-generated projects: Now that students are used to the format and process of using OpenSchool, my goal is for them to use the student-generated projects function of this tech tool for self-directed exploration, work production, and evaluation.

  • Ongoing authentic assessment: My goal is to use student portfolio submissions as part of our end-of-year assessment and report card grades using the CCSS-aligned rubrics.



I can’t wait to see where my continued use of OpenSchool ePortfolio takes me! What other physical or digital portfolio tips and tools do YOU use? Please share.

Thanks for reading, and see you next week!

Comments (4)

Hi Lindsey,

I'm the iPad pilot program teacher in our independent Catholic high school this year. I teach ninth and tenth grade English, and getting my students' work into their digital portfolios has been the bane of my existence. After participating in a webinar that recommended Weebly.com as the simplest vehicle for free students portfolios, I decided to go that route over Google Sites, even though all the students' work is in Google Drive. In fact, my own digital teaching portfolio is on Weebly, so I thought, "Hey, no problem! This will be easy!" Boy, was I wrong. In the fall semester we found that the kids had to find laptops and desktops outside of school in order to download their items out of Google Drive before uploading them to Weebly--MAJOR HASSLE--and many of the students never even did it, even though I demonstrated the process in class, gave them written instructions, AND created a screencast of the steps for them to view at home. For the second semester I discovered that if I changed the privacy setting of their Google documents to "Anyone with the link" before I shared their scored final copies with my comments back to them via Google Drive, they could then copy the link to the document and paste that into a text box on their Weebly pages. I still, however, find that kids are pasting in links to incorrect documents, etc. I can't seem to figure out why this is so difficult for high school students. I think it would be easier if we were on laptops instead of iPads, but who knows. I'm frustrated, and the kids think this is all pointless, but I firmly believe in them having an online presence that showcases their best reading and writing work throughout their high school years. Your students are so much younger than mine, and they seem to have a much better grasp of this! I thought that maybe the OpenSchool ePortfolios are simply more intuitive for younger users, but I can't get enough free accounts for my approximately one hundred students, so I'll never know. Do you have any advice for me?

I enjoyed reading your blog about e-portfolios! I want to try this with my first graders. They're so tech savvy and have already created several presentations on their iPads. Our school district went 100% digital (no text books) so each of my sweeties have their own iPad.

We've used Show Me so far and the results have been astonishing. I'm not familiar with OpenSchool e-Portfolio but cannot wait to check it out.

I'll let you know how it goes :)

Chanel Leslie
The Academy for Academics and Arts
Huntsville, Alabama

Thanks for reading and commenting!
With 1:1 iPads using OpenSchool ePortfolio will make the process even simpler and smoother. Good luck, and let me know how it goes!

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