In March 2018, all students in grades K-10 will be part of student-led conferences. In the past, parents or family members would meet with teachers regarding a student’s academic progress; students were not present at this meeting. This year, all that will change. To support the district’s improvement plan, 100 percent of students in grades K-10 will participate in student-led conferences. This is a meeting where students invite family members or trusted adults to review their academic goals and progress. Students lead the conversation and teachers act as facilitators only. The goal of these conferences include for students to take ownership of their learning and to improve school-home connection and family engagement.
With these initiatives in mind, the instructional coach and 4th-grade team at my school will help students turn physical data binders into student digital portfolios to share at student-led conferences in March. This is a pilot initiative for us, and if it works well with the 4th-grade students, we will share this at other grade-level PLC meetings this spring.
The usage of student digital portfolios has been a topic of implementation in the secondary level at my district, but only recently has this topic been initiated at the primary level at my school. The secondary level has used Schoology and Google Apps For Education to create digital portfolios. At the primary level, we have decided to try G-Suite.
After reading the articles about digital portfolios, I appreciated how these and student-led conferences had similar goals of importance:
- Archive student work artifacts and keep a record of data from K-12
- Students can share learning success with a broader audience: family and peers
- Cultivate 21st century skills: collaboration, technology literacy, oral and written communication skills, initiative
- Incorporate digital citizenship lessons with the creations and sharing of digital portfolios
After discussions with the team and instructional coach, they want these items to be included in a Google Slide presentation, which will be a template for the digital portfolio (this format may or may not change pending feedback after the student-led conferences).
- Attendance and behavioral goal
- STAR chart and goals
- Writing samples
- ELA and math goals
The plan is for me to create a template on Google Slides and place into Google Classroom. The students will open and copy this into their Drive and write and reflect on the items above. Students will visit me by homeroom with their Chromebooks for 40 minutes each week for 2 weeks during our flex time. We will also have discussions about how to use this information in a safe manner and talk about digital footprints. After, students will personalize the slides and then share at the student-led conference.
I am excited for this project as it is a brand-new initiative. This year, the district went from 4-6 fixed to flex schedule, and this is an excellent opportunity to collaborate with teachers and provide students with a meaningful learning experience. I hope it works well so I can bring this idea to other grade levels and strengthen more collaborations, but it also provides an opportunity to fit in digital citizenship lessons, as well.