The purpose of the opening of class today is to introduce students to the Portfolio Rubric for the portfolios. It is important that they know how the portfolios will be graded so they can plan their work accordingly. If I have extra time, I might ask students to brainstorm criteria they think would be important to have a high quality portfolio. I incorporate this feedback into the rubric and explain why I have included the categories that I have chosen for the rubric.
While students are brainstorming portfolio grading criteria (I have them do it in a free-write form), I can circulate and check portfolio homework from the night before.
Day 2 of this lesson plan mostly involves students getting right to work on their portfolios so they can maximize their time in class and make progress toward completion. It is always a challenge decide how much class time I want to dedicate to the portfolio versus out of class time (especially because my students tend to have difficulty completing work outside of class). I find students are most successful with portfolio assignments when they have a balance, completing some work in class and some work out of class. It is important to keep their momentum moving forward, as some students struggle with independent work completion.
As in Day 1, I like to help students set a plan for the independent work they will get finished today. I usually go around the room and ask each student to share out what part of the portfolio s/he will be working on today. I record their name and what they plan to get done on the board. I find this helps students stay on task and I can refer to the list throughout class to keep students motivated.
I let students get right to work. As they work, I circulate and look for students who are struggling with any of the content that was covered in class. The portfolio is a good opportunity for students to assess their own learning. If they are unable to explain some of their work and how it connects to the unit, this is a good opportunity for them to get some individualized instruction. I may need to schedule additional time with students outside of class as well. I like to let students know that I expect them to be able to "show what they know." If they are struggling to do so, they may not have "mastered" the content yet and may need more instruction.
Sometimes students are at a loss for what to write about in the Reflection and good prompts can help them to think through their learning. The Reflection piece of the portfolio asks students to think about their successes and challenges throughout the unit. I have also included a question in the assignment to get students thinking about the Standard for Mathematical Practice 1: Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them. I let them know that savvy math students, like them, are able to stick with a problem and try different approaches to solve it. You might ask them to think about their own progress in the unit and if they have noticed any changes they have made around this standard.
Other prompts that may be helpful to students include:
Reflection/Exit ticket: I ask students to reflect on their portfolio experience. I ask them to reflect on how this kind of assessment compares to a traditional assessment like a test. I ask them 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.
Some of the materials taught during this unit were adapted from the IMP Teacher’s Guide, © 2010 Interactive Mathematics Program. Some rights reserved.